Cocktails: The Gagger

[ Editor's note: It has been pointed out that Michael Ruhlman also has a Friday cocktail feature (more regular than ours, even). While we admire Ruhlman and of like minds when it comes to adult beverages, schmaltz, salt, our love of Cleveland and a great many other things, I would point out they neither he nor we have claim to the Friday cocktail. Friday is for cocktails, for all. 

Take that, wicked strawberry!
"Look at the size of this strawberry," exclaimed a wide-eyed Tuula, Canadian expatriate and drinkstress at Bender's Bar & Grill and more recently Mission Hill Saloon.

"It's big enough to gag someone!" said someone at the bar.

"That's what she said," countered Tuula without skipping a beat, as if the moment were rehearsed, and offered me the fruit nestled in a bar napkin.

"Rainbow," she assured me, as I eyed the berry skeptically. If it's good enough for her kid, must be good enough for us bar rats.

I ate it, it was sweet and tart, not too much one or the other. And it was an impressively large berry (that's what I tell all the girls).

"Let's make a drink," I said, moving in for another.

The Gagger (Strawberry Old Fashioned):
  • 1.5 ounces of whiskey (in this case, Maker's Mark).
  • 1 large strawberry, stemmed and quartered, mashed with;
  • pinch of salt, pinch of bar sugar.
  • Teaspoon of agave syrup.
  • Three dashes of old-fashioned bitters.
  • Soda water.
  • Ice.
Mash berry with salt and sugar in a whiskey tumbler (A.K.A. a "fuck-it bucket"). Douse with bitters. Fill tumbler with ice. Pour in whiskey, top off with soda.

Let the soda water do the mixing.


Mission Hill Saloon
491 Potrero Avenue,
San Francisco, CA

Bender's Bar and Grill
806 South Van Ness,
San Francisco, CA

Rainbow Cooperative Grocery
1745 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA


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