Slideshow: Beyond the Dark and Stormy: 6 Great Ginger Cocktails in San Francisco

The New Rider at Beretta
The New Rider at Beretta
The New Rider ($9) at Beretta was my favorite cocktail of the bunch. Immaculately flavored and curiously complex, the combination of Wild Turkey rye, lemon, house-made ginger syrup, maraschino, bitters, and sage was so good I had to force myself to drink slowly before I downed the drink in a matter of seconds. The flavor was warm and almost dusky, with an incredible layer added by the sage. The addition was initially surprising but flavor-wise, made perfect sense—further proof that Beretta's cocktail crew can do no wrong.

(An honorable mention goes to Beretta's Kentucky Mule—a ginger-infused mint julep, made with Evan Williams single-barrel vintage bourbon, specially created for and selected by Beretta.)

Beretta
1199 Valencia Street, San Francisco CA 94110 (map) 415-695-1199; berettasf.com

The Buffalo Nickel at 15 Romolo
The Buffalo Nickel at 15 Romolo
On the menu, the Buffalo Nickel ($10) is playfully described as "Americana on the rocks." Perhaps this is because the rich blend of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, ginger syrup, root liquor, coffee tincture, and bitters tastes like nothing so much as bourbon accentuated. Rich, layered, and warmly subtle, you'll get a hint of ginger so carefully blended that you might think it was rubbed on the inside of the bourbon barrel itself.

15 Romolo
15 Romolo Place, San Francisco CA 94133 (map) 415-398-1359; 15romolo.com

The Ginger Rogers at Absinthe
The Ginger Rogers at Absinthe
The Ginger Rogers ($9) at Absinthe is as lovely as the copper-top bar on which it's served. And similar to its namesake, the cocktail has more going for it than just looks. A combination of Brokers Gin, fresh mint, ginger syrup, and lemon juice topped with ginger ale, the cocktail tastes like a ginger-infused mojito with none of the overwhelming sweetness that can often accompany the rum-based drink. Refreshing and crisp, it may even inspire you to bust our your dancing shoes.

Absinthe
398 Hayes Street, San Francisco CA 94102 (map) 415-551-1590; absinthe.com

The Indochine at Nihon Whisky Lounge
The Indochine at Nihon Whisky Lounge
The Nihon Whisky Lounge has a hefty selection of cocktails, many of which do (unsurprisingly) include whiskey. But don't let the name lead to you overlook other gems, like the Indochine ($10). A delightfully crisp champagne concoction, the cocktail includes Stirrings ginger liqueur and fresh ginger. Bubbly and sweet, the taste of ginger is evident but doesn't overpower the champagne.

Nihon Whisky Lounge
1779 Folsom Street, San Francisco CA 94103 (map) 415-552-4400; nihon-sf.com

The Promisory Note at The Alembic
The Promisory Note at The Alembic
The Promisory Note ($11) at the Alembic is a drink that deceives you, and cleverly. When raising it to your lips, you're hit with the smell of Reposado tequila, hard. But the taste is that of the "dash" of absinthe—well, absinthe enhanced with Canton ginger liqueur, as if the licorice flavor was spiced. Finished off with dry vermouth and a touch of honey and topped with thinly sliced radishes, the cocktail is dangerously tasty considering the punch it packs.

The Alembic
1725 Haight Street, San Francisco CA 94117 (map) 415-666-0822; alembicbar.com