Lolo's New Playing Card Cocktail Menu

By Virginia Miller | September 2, 2014 By Virginia Miller  |  September 2, 2014
Photo by: Virginia Miller

Lively Mexican gem, Loló, is thriving in its Valencia Street location — and we love its new sister Peruvian-Mexican restaurant, Loló​ Cevicheria. But its initial cocktail menu, while solid, took a backseat to the food. Watch out. Just launched August 27, Lolo's new cocktail menu is coming to you with Trick Dog-esque artistry: a menu lineup of playing cards from Tablero Loteria, a Mexican card game reminiscent of bingo.

Bartenders David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez have created 12 new cocktails ($11 each) — alongside four classics — in this ambitious new menu that takes it a few steps up from their initial cocktail list. Gallardo and Vasquez model drinks after 12 cards they chose from this childhood game, covering a range of styles, spirits and glassware. Tasting through the new menu, here are a few highlights, as colorful as the Lolo restaurants. 974 Valencia St., 415-643-5656 

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    First there's the playing card menu... and pictured above, the subtle La Dama, or the Lady — a Flip-style cocktail of rum, beet powder, horchata and Cappelletti red aperitif. Despite a whole egg (which is what makes it a Flip), the drink is dry and soft, the beet merely adding color, with horchata's cinnamon spice creaminess taking center stage.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    This is one of our favorites, El Cotorro. The card that represents the drink is of parrots and El Cotorro means talkative or chatty. You typically don't see chia seeds in drinks, but Gallardo and Vasquez soak the seeds for days in gin until they are soft, popping like roe as a top layer over a smoky-tart cocktail of Wahaka mezcal, grapefruit bitters, lemon and locally-distilled Chareau California Aloe Liqueur. It's a playful drink of bright texture.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Try and resist El Paraguas (umbrella in Spanish). Served in an adorable milk jar with a straw, and, yes, a paper parasol, it's a mix of vodka, lychee liqueur and a divine house organic coconut cream garnished with arugula. We told you you would not be able to resist.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    El Diablito (devil, to you) earns it namesake: dangerous because it goes down all too easy. Mezcal glows backed by the subtle bitter of Aperol and a whisper of heat from Ancho Reyes chile liqueur. Tie it all together with lime and grapefruit soda and it is a devilish refresher.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    One of our favorites on the new menu, Las Jaras, is marked by a hand-cut, large cube of ice cooling a blend of Ford's Dry Gin, rosemary infused-Rittenhouse rye whiskey, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and lemon. Just a half oz. of rye merely offers spice and backbone, while the rosemary, gin and tart lemon are what come through.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Served in an earthen vessel marked with the words "Made in Mexico", this is another good time-sipper that shows off locally-distilled Chareau California Aloe Liqueur. Tasting of cucumbers and melon, El Cantarito mixes cucumber and Chareau with Ford's Dry Gin, mint and lime for a drink that pairs beautifully with Mexican food.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    For those who like it dry with a nutty sherry finish, try La Pera (the pear), a pisco, pear liqueur and dry vermouth cocktail with a mini-apple cradled at the bottom of the glass. It's Oloroso sherry that lingers at the end.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    A pleasantly unique aperitif, El Venado (the deer) combines mezcal, peach liqueur, orgeat (almond syrup) and pineapple, drinking like a tropical, smoky, sweet cocktail backed by bracing blackberry vinegar.

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MexicanThe Mission
Food26 Decor24 Service23 Cost$36

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