San Francisco knows its cocktails, so only in a cultural mecca such as this can one find a unique event like last night’s “Art of the Modern Drink” put on by CUESA and the San Francisco chapter of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild.

Bartenders and chefs from about a dozen Bay Area restaurants came together to get inspired by the contemporary art of the SFMOMA, mixing up drinks and creating small bites that were Rothko-like and Calder-esque. Crowds swarmed in once the doors opened for the evening’s sold-out event on the mezzanine level of the picturesque Ferry Building, home of the popular farmers market that also served as inspiration for the cocktails (think lots of fresh citrus and berries).

My favorite bite of the night was a beautiful chicken liver bite from Galen Vasquez of The Square, and there were probably too many favorite cocktails for me to remember (i.e., got a bit tipsy and couldn’t take notes). While I wished the bites were bigger to offset all the liquor 😉 it still was a fun night to experience some of the city’s brightest culinary and mixology minds.

Bright halibut ceviche from Lolinda

Bright halibut ceviche from Lolinda

Laddling up some punch with a huge ice cube that had a Rothko-inspired pattern made with berries.

Laddling up some punch with a huge ice cube that had a Rothko-inspired pattern made with berries.

Bartenders from Pesce Restaurant in the Castro mixing up their special "Prince" rum cocktail for the night.

Bartenders from Pesce Restaurant in the Castro mixing up their special “Prince” rum cocktail for the night.

"The Prince" cocktail made from rum by Pesce

“The Prince” cocktail made from rum by Pesce

The bartenders brought an assortment of brand name liquor. They were not kidding around.

The bartenders brought an assortment of brand name liquor. They were not kidding around.

Ferry Building and its arches always make for a great venue for a special event.

Ferry Building and its arches always make for a great venue for a special event.

There were a lot of shaking going 'round.

There were a lot of shaking going ’round.

Sausage and artichoke bite

Sausage and artichoke bite

Charles Phan of the Slanted Door working his station and preparing his blood sausage and pickled cabbage dish.

Charles Phan of the Slanted Door working his station and preparing his blood sausage and pickled cabbage dish.

My favorite bite of chicken liver pate from The Square.

My favorite bite of chicken liver pate from The Square.

Another liver dish, this one duck liver, was a close second.

Another liver dish, this one duck liver, was a close second.

Dustin Toshiyuki mixes up A-16's special drink of the night called "X Marks the Spot"

Dustin Toshiyuki mixes up A-16’s special drink of the night called “X Marks the Spot”

Spraying on the "X" for A-16's cocktail

Spraying on the “X” for A-16’s cocktail

The frothy "X Marks the Spot" cocktail

The frothy “X Marks the Spot” cocktail

A member of the Bartenders' Guild demonstrates making a flower garnish from a strawberry

A member of the Bartenders’ Guild demonstrates making a flower garnish from a strawberry

Burrata and heirloom tomatoes

Burrata and heirloom tomatoes

I loved the station for Lolinda from the Mission. Had a real Southwest vibe

I loved the station for Lolinda from the Mission. Had a real Southwest vibe

More Rothko-inspired cookies

More Rothko-inspired cookies

One Response to Cocktails and Bites at CUESA’s Art of the Modern Drink Event

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    I LOVE the “X Marks the Spot” cocktail. It’s so impressive how cocktails have really come into their own in the past couple of years. They are stars unto themselves. And I’ll drink to that development! 😉