One of the bars in San Francisco that knows how to make a cocktail is Bourbon and Branch. They invented the Laphroaig Project there, and the bar is actually housed in what used to be a speakeasy. There’s a back “library” that houses a second bar that you need to enter through a fake bookcase. You need to make a reservation and know a password to get in, the bartenders and staff are all dressed up old-fashioned like, and the quality of their drinks is only matched by the prices they charge.
Recently they expanded. Next door houses “Wilson and Wilson Private Detective Agency”. It’s a bar that is supposed to give you a higher level of service and ostensibly it does. It’s another speakeasy type thing, and you can read a good review and the backstory here from The Tender. I didn’t have an awesome time there (the seats are REALLY uncomfortable and our waitress was pretty awful), but the drinks were good.
The reason I write this post is that they have some extremely interesting whisk(e)y drinks. The menu is arranged by apertifs, main courses, and digestifs (they have a prix fixe menu where you get three drinks for the price of two and a half, or really the price of a decent meal anywhere else).
The three drinks are:
Clove infused cognac, Glenrothes Alba Reserve, Cocchi Aperitivo, Lemon Juice, Cacao and Vanilla Syrup, Orange Bitters
Highland Park 12, Amaro Nonino, Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup, Sasparilla Aromatic Bitters, Licorice Root Tincture
Knob Creek Bourbon, Coffee Syrup, Cranberry Infused Angostura Orange Bitters, Tobacco Bourbon Tincture
I had the Truth Serum and really enjoyed it. It wound up being way smokier than I expected from HP 12, and was really delicious. The flavors were balanced and I even got some of the sarsparilla. Not sure it was worth the cost, but definitely an experience.