5 Drinks for Right Now Spring 2023

yo tambien cantina michelada

YTC Michelada with Chamoy Rim from Yo Tambien Cantina: Yo También Cantina is one of those spots I wish I lived closer to. Main dishes on their menu like the vegetarian tamale bowl is sort of genius and hits all the marks for me: fresh, nourishing but also super satisfying and very bountiful. The same goes for their drinks. Their michelada is not your typical tomato/clamato version or the super simple lime juice + beer version that I personally love.

Theirs is inspired by co-owners Isa Bertorelli and Kenzie Benesh’s time in Venezuela and British Columbia. In Venezuela, a michi, short for michelada, was the ultimate thirst quencher for Bertorelli, and in B.C. “indulging in a SPEED BEER with a little orange or grapefruit juice before (or after) you hit the slopes” helped make Benesh’s ride down the slopes “smoother somehow.” Plus, with California citrus being how we know it is, they had to create their own version. 

The base is a matrix of oranges (Valencia and blood), Eureka lemons, ruby grapefruit and seasonally everything from yuzu to even celery juice and lime, plus, of course, beer. La Victoria is their first choice. The glass is rimmed with their own chamoy, which includes tamarind, prunes and hibiscus. On top of that is a coating of their own tajin they make with dried and crushed citrus from Brokaw Ranch Co., chile de árbol, sumac, sugar and salt. It is truly a labor of love, and they even have punch cards for frequent michelada drinkers.

Yo Tambien Cantina, 205 Hugo St., ytc2go.com

new wave fix cocktail at dalva

New Wave Fix from Dalva: The cocktails at Dalva have never been better with industry veteran Eric Ochoa now heading the bar program. The New Wave Fix is proof. A collaboration between Ochoa and his business partner Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud, it’s a mix of northern Italian gin, aged French rancio wine, pineapple and coconut Chartreuse — which is made in house by fat washing Chartreuse with dried coconut toasted in coconut oil. The effect is elegance with a mild funk, a hint of fruit, a bit of toasted almond and enough body to make it really sippable. In a way, this cocktail reminds me of one of my all time favorite french apéritifs, the Mauresque (orgeat + pastis + soda water), but a cooler, more grown up version that’s right here in the heart of the Mission. 

Dalva, 3121 16th St., dalvasf.com

the orange shower at shuggies trash pie

Orange Shower  (Porrón of Orange Wine) from Shuggie’s Trash Pie & Natural Wine: A porrón is a kind of pass-around wine decanter with a long snout that pours a steady and long stream of wine into the most daring of diners’ mouths. It’s part badass party trick, part obnoxious-in-your-literal face and totally fun, once you try it. It also has a history dating back very many years with roots in the Basque region of Spain. If you’re a natural wine kid, you’ve probably tried a porrón before, but if you haven’t or just want to have a good time at dinner, Shuggie’s might be the perfect place to practice your aim and wine-gulping capabilities. At Shuggie’s they pour an orange wine they call an Orange Shower.  It’s super aromatic, citrusy, floral and just tasty, even if you miss a little and some rolls down your chin. Pro tip: do not turn your head, and trust the pourer! 

Shuggies Trash Pie, 3349 23rd St., shuggiespizza.com

atole de platano at universal bakery

 Atole de Plátano at Universal Bakery: Freshly baked French rolls filled with soft scrambled eggs, refried beans, sour cream and your choice of braised pork or plantains, these might be the most tender breakfast sandwiches in all of San Francisco, and until recently were exclusively what I’d order at Universal Bakery. But the bakery also makes stellar atole too — the hot, often corn-based drink popular in Central America. In particular, the atole de plátano is my favorite. Simmered plantains are cooked down to the point where they fall apart, yet leave the tiniest bits of plantain swimming in a cinnamon broth with sugar and milk. A cup of this atole is like an irresistible hug, fully embracing, slightly sweet with an unexpected twang of tang.

Universal Bakery, 458 Mission St., universalbakerysf.com

Key Bump (vermouth rouge shot) from Key Klub 

Located in an old nightclub space on Bush street, it’s exciting to see Key Klub back in a new incarnation as a restaurant for all. Some of that is thanks to the space itself; the large and open main floor and bar is inviting for groups or singles, while the upstairs balcony is set with cozy tables perfect for dates. But the real kicker is the service coupled with a selection of wine, beer and food to boot. On the menu they offer what’s called a Key Bump, a shot of Sot de L’Ange red vermouth. It’s savory-sweet, juicy and full of zappy acidy with a little spice. It’s a great way to start or end your night out. 

Key Klub, 850 Bush St., keyclubsf.com