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Classy San Francisco drinks for nephew's 21st birthday

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Before he hits the town with his age-appropriate friends I thought it best to introduce him to a proper and civilized cocktail. Where do we go? Not too stuffy but nowhere he would stumble upon (into?) on his own.

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  1. Bourbon & Branch, Smuggler's Cove, or Bar Agricole.

    Also, the Sidecar at Bix is legendary and definitely civilized!

    1. Add Alembic and or Comstock Saloon.

      1. The open-secret bar at Alfred's.

        1. Ok, you have to focus on the classics. B&B, SC, BA --- they're too far "down the line". He'll get there in a few years.

          The classics of interest are the gin martini, and the manhattan, and to a lesser extent the sidecar and old fashioned.

          What you really want is a place you can walk up to the bar and say, "hey, I'd like to introduce my nephew, he's just turned 21, and I want to introduce him to cocktails. Can you take us few a few drinks?"

          To me, this says The Fairmont, the Ritz, the Mark Hopkins at about 2pm on a weekday.

          If I were that bartender, I'd line up something like a "tasting shot" of every major liquor (not even a real shot, just like a strawfull) - the top 4 gins, the top 2 vodkas, an example of each scotch family, 2 bourbons .... then pick a few classic drinks and mix them each way - again, in taster form. At home, I now make the "espresso shot" drink, with just a splash of everything, in my insulated Bodum espresso shot glasses (where they stay cool).

          That's the kind of education _I_ would have liked.

          Failing that, you should go somewhere where you'll get some special attention. That'll make the experience, even if it's just an introduction to the bartender and a little extra TLC in the drink prep.

          1. I know this is not the "it" restaurant in SF but BIX bar is very "classy" and it's not a place you can stumble into -- perhaps out of though...