Gallery: Everything We Drank at Best of The West, San Francisco Cocktail Week

Tiger Balm #2, Portland
Tiger Balm #2, Portland
Our first stop was with Ricky Gomez of Cocktalian NOLA in Portland. His Tiger Balm #2 is a twist on a classic daiquiri. The combination of Brugal rum, Fernet Branca, lime juice, and passion fruit puree created a slightly tart cocktail with a kick of menthol flavor.

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San Francisco In The House
San Francisco In The House
Steve Tiles represented the host city, shaking up a killer Thai-inspired cocktail called the Refuge and Tonic. This drink was the official cocktail of SF Cocktail week.
Oxley Refuge Gin & Tonic
Oxley Refuge Gin & Tonic
You wouldn't guess that this is a gin based cocktail. When shaken with Lillet Blanc, puree of coconut, lime juice, and simple syrup, the cocktail on citrusy, tropical flavors more reminiscent of rum-based drinks. Yet despite the coconut puree, the drink was light and well balanced. It's finished with Fentimans tonic, cardamom powder, and lime.

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Postcards From Sicily
Postcards From Sicily
Dustin Haarstad from Searsucker in San Diego was given Solerno blood orange liqueur and absinthe as his secret ingredients. He made a twist on a Sazerac, starting with Cognac and adding Peychaud's and grapefruit bitters to complement the citrus flavors of the liqueur.

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Turtle Island
Turtle Island
This is the work of Bryn Lumsden from Rob Roy in Seattle. Lumsden was given Pisco as an ingredient, and he added cream sherry in homage to Seattle's penchant for wine-based cocktails. Topped off with ginger and soda, this was a fruity, effervescent cocktail.

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Absinthe Luge
Absinthe Luge
There's nothing to break up a cocktail tasting like an absinthe luge. The brand on hand—St. George Vert—had a strong herbal flavor with an alcoholic kick.
Magnolia Lane
Magnolia Lane
Here Chris Dooley of Ella in Sacramento finishes off our cocktails with some freshly ground cinnamon.
Cheers to that
Cheers to that
The inherent smokiness of whiskey paired perfectly with a smoked peach puree. Spicy and warm, this was a great cocktail for early fall.
Pitchers of...eggs?
Pitchers of...eggs?
We walked up to the table manned by Adrian Biggs of Descarga in Los Angeles, curious as to what's in store.
The Errol Flip
The Errol Flip
He's making a flip! With coffee stout and Irish whiskey!
Coffee and Whisky Equal Love
Coffee and Whisky Equal Love
Or that's what we've been reassured of, after tasting this creamy cocktail. The dark beer shines through, adding a refreshingly bitter note. Freshly grated nutmeg makes an earthy, spicy garnish.

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The Mexicano
The Mexicano
Our last cocktail was made by Heidi Welniak from the US Bartender's Guild in Las Vegas. It's a cross between an Americano and a Paloma, using tequilla, Lillet Rouge, Campari, lime juice, and grapefruit bitters. Each drink is given a generous garnish of cayenne pepper.

The resulting cocktail was deliciously bitter, fruity, and tongue-tingling spicy. Just the thing to perk the my palate after eight other cocktails.

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You can take the bartender out of Vegas...
You can take the bartender out of Vegas...
Giant lighted wall projection
Giant lighted wall projection
In case the attendees forgot where they were by the time they got to the eighth cocktail.