Cocktail of the Week: “The Yellow Kid” from Local Edition, San Francisco
The latest concept from the minds behind some of San Francisco’s premier bars is a real headliner. The group, Future Bars, runs bars that run the entire gamut. There is a small, reservations only speakeasy in the dicey Tenderloin, complete with a hidden speakeasy within a speakeasy (Bourbon & Branch, Wilson &Wilson), a large happy hour Financial District factory with arguably the city’s finest cocktail (The Rickhouse, the drink is the “Laphroaig Project”), and a newer bar based on the different geographic cocktail genres of the U.S. (Tradition).
Now, the press is out on the newest hit from Future Bars, located in between Third and Fourth Streets on on Market Street…not exactly a nightlife central area. Local Edition focuses on ye olde days of when newspapers were the main source of news, when newspapers were actually printed on paper, and when newspapers were written with typewriters. I’m sorry, typewriters? What are those?
You guessed it. The massive underground room is filled with typewriters and old newspaper headlines (remember when San Francisco was a two newspaper town? In theory it still is.) Is that Herb Caen at the bar sipping a Gibson, complete with housemade brined onions?
While most “mixology” cocktail spots like to reach back to the days of speakeasies during Prohibition, Local Edition is all about the 1930′-1940’s era when people just plain drank. More specifically the journalists who perfected the three martini lunch. I haven’t done enough archival research to see how many Bloody Marys caused factual errors and typos.
The bar itself is quite dramatic and expansive. The rear booths are well-lit, as opposed to most pitch black cocktail dens. For some strange reason the booths were built for basketball players with the unnecessarily high tables. There is an area near the entrance meant for dancing or standing while drinking. The bar area is first come, first served, while the booths can be reserved online.
The drinks reflect the simplistic, spirit driven époque. The signature “Local Edition Cocktail” is an old-fashioned with some orange peel syrup. The “Rosebud,” of course named for that beloved snow sled of a certain newspaper magnate in a certain classic 1941 film, is a brilliant Margarita riff where Reposado tequila, lemon, Cocchi Americano, and vanilla syrup receive a wake up call from basil, black pepper, and a sea salt pinch. It’s incredibly unique and really shouldn’t even be referred to as a Margarita evolution. Only the overly sweet and cloying “Fidel and Che” faltered with too much Aperol covering up the rum and pint, allowing for the Yerba Mate syrup to barely be detected.
But the drink that grabbed the headlines was “The Yellow Kid.” Dill Syrup? With the cocktail, not the salmon for dinner.
Yes, please. One sip and you will know why every other Scandinavia dish has dill as a garnish or as part of the sauce. In a Collins glass on the rocks, the dill syrup works magic with prickly gin, lemon, and dry vermouth. Some bubbles and spice join the fun from ginger beer. Then some velvet falernum adds an unexpected jolt of more sweet-spice sensations to counter the dill and gin. There is a lot going on here. Yet it remains utterly refreshing.
Think of “The Yellow Kid” as a cocktail intellectual’s refreshing drink. The journalists of the old days wouldn’t be able to stop with just one while typing out the afternoon stories.