There is something completely mesmerizing about the "before and after," whether it's showing weight loss, hair growth, climate change, home renovations, aging, or decay. They offer either the stark contrast of decline, or mark encouraging progress forward. One of the most enjoyable ways to explore this phenomenon is with a pair of cocktails at Zero Zero.
Order up the Vida Vieja ($12, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Gran Classico Liqueur, Green Chartreuse, Punt é Mes vermouth) and the unaged, off the menu version, the Vida Joven ($12) for a yin-yang experience. The aged version feels somehow more unified, with the individual components harder to tease apart, and the smoke mellowed out in the barrel. In contrast, the Vida Joven is lively and smoky, energetically bouncing in the glass, with the exuberance of fresh herbs. The cocktail is based around the negroni with mezcal in place of gin, complimented by more herbaceous Punt é Mes vermouth and Gran Classico in place of Campari. The green chartreuse is the secret sauce, fusing with the agave sweetness in both versions.
For the past year and a half, the bar at the SOMA pizzeria has released a different barrel-aged cocktail every few months. Joel Teitelbaum started the program with negronis, but general manager Tim Felkner and the bar staff have continued to explore the possibilities. "The aged-cocktail generally feels more round on the palate with a few extra hints of spice that are not present in the un-aged version," explained Felkner.
Ordering up two drinks at once may seem a little scandalous, but the simultaneous look at the present and future is worth a few sideways glances. Just beware: a few too many and you could suddenly find yourself waking up in the future, complete with the splitting headache, dry mouth, and confusion associated with time travel on a liquid DeLorean.
1 ½ oz. Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
¾ oz. Gran Classico Liqueur
¾ oz. Green Chartreuse
¾ oz. Punt é Mes
Combine all ingredients in a glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass with a large piece of ice and garnish with an orange peel.
To make the aged version (Vida Vieja): combine all ingredients and place into an American oak barrel and age for three months. To serve, follow instructions above.
Zero Zero, 826 Folsom (at Fourth St.), 348-8800