5 Cocktails We Love at the New Smokestack

By Virginia Miller  |  May 20, 2014
Credit: Virginia Miller

Last week, we explored the amazing BBQ at brand new Smokestack in the Dogpatch. (So you know you should run to try chef Dennis Lee's brisket.) This week, we're going to dive into the cocktails. You may remember talented Bar Manager Eric Quilty from the formative years at Adesso in Oakland. Here, he engineers a drink menu to go perfectly with barbecue. But the whiskey and small batch spirits-heavy bar is a destination in its own right. Most of the drinks are thoughtfully named after various moments in Dogpatch history. If you ask your bartender, you'll probably get a fascinating story with your drink. Clearly the neighborhood agrees, as crowds have swarmed the bar nightly, starting at 4 PM. Now take a look at five of our favorite Smokestack cocktail beauties ($11-12) below.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Mission in the Rain

    Named for one of Smokestack owner Dave McLean's favorite Jerry Garcia songs, this cocktail was inspired by the smells on a foggy Bay Area morning. Bring the drink to your nose and Quilty's bay leaf-steeped cordial and oregano garnish have the cumulative effect of an herbal rainforest. You'll also get subtle smokey smells and flavors from mezcal, mixed with a house made white aperitif that makes for a clean and dry finish. A bit of Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur adds a fruity whisper. Breathe. And drink it all in.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    The Lock & Montague

    This boozy-but-elegant American whiskey cocktail starts with Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whiskey. Its deep notes of oak barrel, corn and barley meets the sweet-dry nuttiness you get from Blandy's Madeira, alongside a bit of bitter-lush backbone from Barolo Chinato and the rosy pomegranate glow of grenadine. 

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    The Long Bridge

    This might be our initial menu favorite. Portland's Aviation Gin, a bit of Isle of Skye Blended Scotch and Italian bitter Aperol, all play happily together as a balanced whole: no one spirit dominates. Tart grapefruit cordial and cocoa-infused Peychaud's bitters add an element of surprise, transforming this on-the-rocks refresher into a citrus and dusty chocolate-laced trip. It's topped off with seltzer, so it goes down all too easy.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Dutchman's Flat

    Beef bouillon and toasted nori (seaweed) in a cocktail? You heard right. While we rather long for a more savory cocktail where we can taste all those elements, the Dutchman's Flat is actually bright and refreshing. With a Rittenhouse Rye whiskey base for some spiced grain notes, Quilty infuses a beef bouillon broth with ginger and turmeric tea and it's those elements you taste most, balanced by lemon, honey syrup and a dash of Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters. A garnish of a sheet of toasted nori on the drink hits the nose with those wonderful umami notes with negligible effect to the taste.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Funston's Diamond

    Ask the bartenders for the story behind Funston's Diamond, an ode to the baseball diamond where a Dogpatch sugar refinery - that employed over 1000 locals in the 1950's - used to sit. As for the cocktail itself? Quilty infuses Portuguese brandy with pistachios for a rich nuttiness, mixing it with Appleton V/X Rum, Alvear Cream Sherry and banana bitters that he makes in-house with ripe bananas infused in Lemonhart 151 rum. It smells like the rum-flambeed bananas in Bananas Foster and tastes like a just-sweet-enough, nutty delight.