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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tres Times the Charm for Barman Joel Baker

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge The Grassroots Cocktail - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • The Grassroots Cocktail

Two months ago Joel Baker, formerly bar manager at Bourbon & Branch and the Burritt Room, was brought on to enhance the bar and cocktail menu at Tres. Baker explained that, "The aim is to get the bar back to where it was when they opened, when Jacques [Bezuidenhout], Ryan [Fitzgerald], and Marco [Dionysos], their all-star bartending cast, were here."

We can expect modern interpretations of classic tequila drinks to start showing up on the menu, but also improvements to the house collection of spirits. Baker plans to start phasing out some of the mass-produced spirits on the shelf and replace them with more artisanal tequilas and mezcals. To complement the tequilas, the bar will also start serving new housemade sangritas, one with a traditional tomato base, and a more tropical alternative based on pineapple.

click to enlarge They say the greatest trick El Diablo ever pulled was convincing the world he was just a tasty cocktail. - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • They say the greatest trick El Diablo ever pulled was convincing the world he was just a tasty cocktail.

As the restaurant's chef Juan Martinez shifts to a more seasonal approach to the cuisine, Baker is incorporating that sensibility in the bar. His plan is to roll out the new drink menu slowly, with three new cocktails on now.

These include the classic and refreshing El Diablo ($10, Don Eduardo Blanco Tequila, lime, crème de cassis, ginger beer), the elegant and smoky Single Village Crusta ($14, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, lemon, Cointreau, maraschino liqueur, Angostura bitters), and one of the best Pimm's Cup variations I've had, the Copa ($12, Corralejo Reposado Tequila, Pimms, lemon juice, ginger syrup, cinnamon bitters, ginger beer).

A fourth cocktail, the Grassroots (Tequila Corrido Blanco, Amaro Montenegro, sweet vermouth, lime, rosemary), debuts this month in time for a revamped series of tequila dinners called Aficionado, which will pair food, tequila, cocktails, and tequila education by visiting tequila producers. The first of the five-course dinners begin on March 29, and will feature the food of La Cocina businesses starting with Chaac Mool, serving Yucatan cuisine paired with a different tequila or cocktail from Tequila Corrido.

Tres, 130 Townsend (at Second St.), 227-0500

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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