Artistic Aperitifs

Inventive sips make summer especially delightful in the City by the Bay.

By Madeline Ewles


An elegant restaurant in the Presidio Heights neighborhood, Spruce features American contemporary cuisine and an impressive selection of cocktails and wines. The restaurant’s bar manager, Brandon Clements, creates a seasonal assortment of classic and original cocktails including his signature drink, the Violet Beauregarde. Inspired by the character from Roald Dahl’s novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the concoction features muddled blueberries, lemongrass syrup and lemon juice topped with Pages Parfait Amour liqueur, Beefeater 24 gin and bitter lemon soda. The cocktail is poured into a Collins glass filled with ice and violets, then garnished with two blueberries, violets, a long thin lemon twist and lavender sprig.  (415-931-5100; sprucesf.com)

25 Lusk 

A hip and trendy restaurant and lounge located in San Francisco’s SOMA district, 25 Lusk features seasonally driven New American cuisine and expertly crafted cocktails. One of the favorite summer sips offered at 25 Lusk is the SF Yacht Club cocktail, made with vodka, and ‘house-made spa water’—a muddled concoction of cucumber, grapefruit, lemon, lime and mint. Poured into a glass with ice and garnished with a cucumber slice, lime and lemon peels, this drink is simply crisp and refreshing. (415-495-5875; 25lusk.com)


Located in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood, Quince is housed in a brick and timber building that dates back to 1907. Featuring a daily-changing menu that utilizes the seasonal ingredients of Northern California, the restaurant offers a unique cocktail inspired by San Francisco’s sunny summer weather. In the Garden Flip, Muddled cucumber, cilantro and lime are added to a mixture of gin, Cointreau, Luxardo Maraschino, one egg white and ice, shaken until frothy and chilled. The mixture is then double-strained into a chilled glass and garnished with a grated long pepper, giving the cocktail a bit of a kick. (415-775-8500; quincerestaurant.com) B