Liquid History

That drink in your hand — a lemon drop, a blue blazer, maybe a slippery nipple — where do you think it came from? Chances are, it was invented in San Francisco. You might not realize it, but many parts of the city are sacred cocktail ground. Starting during the Gold Rush, Baghdad by the Bay was home to a number of beverage pioneers who concocted drink recipes and set the standard for bar practices. One of them was “Cocktail Bill” Boothby, whose 1891 book, Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender, was almost lost in the 1906 earthquake but was resurrected and republished last year by Anchor Distilling Co. To call it a bible is not a stretch — it includes the Ten Commandments for the Bartender. Boothby will be honored tonight by the dedication of the Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts, a community center, event space, and “beverage lab” (no kidding) that will be the home base of the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail. It kicks off San Francisco Cocktail Week, whose events include a farmers’ market happy hour at the Ferry Building (Sept. 22), a cocktail gala at the Old Mint (Sept. 25), and a karaoke gong show at the Ambassador (Sept. 27).
Sept. 21-27, 2010

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