Silicon Valley Bars and Clubs 2016
juice bars and craft cocktails, the valley has it all
The Revolt against mass production and cheap ingredients that transformed American cuisine has now rolled through every category of liquid beverage. Coffee is sourced to a farm and roasted by an iconic, regionally branded vendor. Beer has been liberated from six-pack rings, and more restaurants each year have steel tanks and brewmasters. Bartenders open their shifts by staging botanicals and carving up citrus.
The kitchen and bar have merged as artisanal vegetables make their way into the lounge and jammy fruit preparations emerge from the burners. The centerpiece of the new cocktail culture is arguably bitters, an early 19th Century staple that has embedded itself in the digital age.
Angostura bitters, of course, never went away, and are just as essential to a Manhattan as vermouth and a maraschino cherry. But get a bartender talking about the celery bitters he's curating in a mason jar behind the bar, and you'll get an earful. Once the world embraced watermelon-flavored beer, the floodgates were open, and now bitters can encompass a high-octane infusion of just about anything, except maybe transmission fluid.
Joe Cirone of Willow Glen's Over/Under Sports Bar foraged some aromatics at his Delmont Farm and dropped them into a jar of Everclear. The colorful mixture, which appears on this issue's cover, includes black walnut leaves, cardamom, unripe wild berry bitters and tinctures of tamarind, hops, lavender and dates. It was still too fresh to sample, so we can't vouch for the flavor. In a couple of weeks it will likely infuse a new cocktail.
We'll get back to you.—Dan Pulcrano