Alembic on Haight - photo courtesy Rob - Colorado

The highlight of conferencing with spirit makers by all rights is meeting the people behind the spirits, placing the human aspect on a cold bottle so the liquid inside has a chance to warm to its fullest potential and then of course tasting these budding offerings as they begin their journey to the shelves of America and beyond.  After a long week of interaction even the movers and shakers behind the brands venture out to meet their perfect pour. 

The last evening of one such conference week found our group at the Alembic bar on Haight in the Ashbury District in San Francisco.  Alembic’s website and actual existence are virtual worlds apart.  As cool as the website portrays their small space to be, the Alembic soars well above hip to the realm of throw-back hippy flair where bartenders know their craft, cocktails become works of art due to the contents rather than some fru-fru garnish and conversation is welcome. 

Although I tasted many cocktails throughout the evening spent at Alembic (the one with radish garnish was to die for!), I only ordered two; Sazerac and The Poop Deck Cocktail.  Both were amazingly phenomenal! 

Straight from Alembic’s cocktail menu:

Sazerac – In New Orleans, they like to do things their own way. Judging by this famous variation on the old-fashioned, that way may be the right way. Sazerac 6yr rye whiskey, the crescent city’s own peychaud’s bitters, a bit of sugar – and a glass rinsed with a green bitter liquid that shall remain nameless.

The Poop Deck Cocktail – It’s hard to resist a cocktail with a nautical theme (or scatological reference for that matter). This classic cocktail blends cognac, port wine, and blackberry brandy, making for smooth sailing on stormy seas. Overindulgence, however, could send a wave up over your stern.

For anyone who walks in without a clue what to order or who happens to be open to anything the bartenders wants to concoct:

Take Your Chances – Don’t feel like deciding tonight? Why not flip into the backseat and let’s just park for a while. Try something new or just an oldie but goodie we are turned on by right now. Let us know what mood you’re in, so we can get the music just right.

The Alembic is a must visit bar for anyone visiting the San Francisco area.  The Alembic bar is the perfect atmosphere for casual conversation among friends without being so large rowdy crowds could carry the night away.  You’ll find classic cocktails tweaked flawlessly with spirits you may have never seen before.  The back wall is filled with bottles in varying shapes and sizes with liquids to tantalize the palate, imagination and fulfill your every liquid desire.  Luckily the bar comes fully equipped with bartenders creatively qualified to craft said cocktails to perfection.   

Cheri Loughlin is a leading cocktail and photography resource for beverage companies, event planners, businesses and individuals. High resolution cocktail and beverage stock photography images are available in downloadable digital format in the newly redesigned Stock Photography Gallery at

Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon – str8upcocktails @ – ©2012 Cheri Loughlin-The Intoxicologist, All Rights Reserved. All opinions, reviews and spirits’ coverage are the personal opinion and decision of Cheri Loughlin.

Perfect Pour at Alembic on Haight
Tagged on: