For seasonal, produce-driven cocktails, this is always an odd time of year. Fresh, local citrus and apples are dwindling in supply, but the spring strawberry and cherry crops haven't quite peaked. Scott Beattie's John Chapman ($12, St. George Whiskey, Weller Bourbon, pear eau de vie, apple, ginger, lemon, Thai coconut-apple foam, apple crisp) at Hog & Rocks is the perfect transitional cocktail; the whiskey and apple fortify against the spring cold, yet the bright, creamy, and tropical foam foreshadow warmer days.
The John Chapman is a fitting signature drink for Beattie who is the Johnny Appleseed of cocktails (and recently called a one-man trend). He currently has cocktail programs in place at Cyrus, Mateo's Cocina Latina, Spoonbar, and Hog & Rocks, and two more in the works at Hi-Lo BBQ and Goose & Gander. Each time this drink makes an appearance, it's a little different, more polished. It's a cocktail that Beattie seems to pack into his suitcase as he travels around, each stop making small adjustments, crucial refinements, and I suspect a drink that he might not ever feel is finished, like the Mona Lisa in a glass.
Hog & Rocks, 3431 19th St. (at San Carlos), 550-8627