I’ve been to Rickhouse several times for special events, but I recently got to hang out there while showing around a bartender visiting from Chicago. And now it’s become my favorite bar in San Francisco.
Once the door closes behind you, I like the way it feels like you’re in a different place. With its rough wood paneling, dim light and chicken wire detailing, the bar is set up to look like a rick house, a warehouse out in the country where barrels of whiskey are stored. Even the bathrooms are kind of like visiting an outhouse, sans the aroma.
Rickhouse is well-known for its punch bowls, like the popular Pimm’s Berry Punch. But we were impressed with the creative cocktails on the menu, most of which were just $8.
We slid into the open seats at the end of the bar and immediately started chatting with a friendly couple who had come down from Fairfield one one side and a businessman visiting from Boston on the other. But the center of attention was our bartender Ricky Paiva, who sported an impressive mustache that twirled up on the ends.
In between mixing cocktails like the sparkling Pleasant Evening and the Blue & Red Smash, a Bulleit Bourbon cocktail with muddled berries and mint, Ricky told us the story behind his mustache.
Most people think it goes with his authentic old-time mixologist look. But it was a remnant from his stint in a friend’s Burt Reynolds style wedding, complete with leisure suits and Lonnie Anderson white wine.
Bartenders are cool about sharing recipes for their drinks. When I asked how to make a Pleasant Evening, Ricky printed a small receipt with the recipe and the type of glass to make it in. So here you go:
1/2 ounce crème de cassis
3/4 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
2 dashes peach bitters
3 ounces brut sparkling wine
grapefruit peel, for garnish
Shake the cassis, grapefruit juice and bitters in a shaker to chill, then strain into a champagne coupe. Top with the sparkling wine and garnish with grapefruit peel.
Makes 1 cocktail