Gin and tonic sounds like such a simple drink — two elements, plus ice, maybe a wedge of lime — but the humble G&T has blossomed in recent years, inspired in part by the well-decorated goblets of Spain. In San Francisco, of course, we have our own spin. Using The Botanist’s dry gin, which is crafted from more than 22 hand-foraged botanicals from the Isle of Islay in Scotland, some of San Francisco’s best bars and restaurants have created their own take on the libation that’s both bracing and refreshing. Where can you find the most delicious G&T in San Francisco? Consider this map your guide — you’ll want it for the season.Read More
Where to Find the Freshest Gin and Tonics in San Francisco
This sleek Cow Hollow spot sports an impressive moss-encrusted wall, comfortable bar seats, and a gold velvet-lined banquette. The food is inspired by Nikkei cuisine — the dishes of the Japanese diaspora in Peru — but the cocktails, created by bar manager Debora Fernandez and consultant Anthony Parks (of Whitechapel), are not to be missed. Gather your crew for a night of ceviche, crispy tempura rock shrimp, and Hokkaido scallop tiradito, made with tangy passionfruit puree. All go nicely with Debora Fernandez’s refreshing Kaiyo G&T, which combines The Botanist gin, ginger-infused manzanilla sherry, yellow chartreuse, Indian tonic, and a couple drops of saline for a salty finish.
2. The Treasury
After-work crowds often gather around this long, curved bar in the Financial District to order fancy cocktails under the towering ceilings. Ryan Hall created the Fidi gin and tonic, which features The Botanist gin mixed with La Gitana Manzanilla, Meyer lemon oil, and Q Tonic.
3. The Elite Cafe
Established in 1981, this Louisiana-inspired Fillmore Street restaurant bridges the West Coast and Bayou country. There’s soft shell crab fried in an Anchor Steam beer batter, hush puppies, red beans and rice, seafood gumbo, and beignets dusted with powdered sugar. Feeling like something lighter? Pop in for briny oysters on the half shell and a thirst-quenching G&T: The Seasonal Remedy has The Botanist gin, Fentimans tonic, fresh ruby grapefruit, and rosemary.
4. Alexander's Steakhouse
This special-occasion Mission Bay restaurant is known for high-end steak — including A5 wagyu served in 3-ounce portions — and gracious service. Start off your celebration with their signature spicy hamachi shot, perked up with serrano, radish, and yuzu-soy dressing, plus a refreshing gin and tonic, made with a Pink Lady apple and California rosé tonic that’s combined with The Botanist gin, juniper and pink peppercorn blanc vermouth, and California wild fronds.
5. Noir Lounge
Live piano music, old films screening, and a cozy nook to escape the bustle of Hayes Street? We’ll take it, along with the Noir Lounge G&T, made with The Botanist gin, fig eau de vie, garden party thyme, and topped with Indian tonic and fresh seasonal fruits and herbs. Comfort food offerings include gouda-filled tots and mac and cheese.
This Divisadero spot serves Spanish-inspired G&Ts to pair with two-star rated tapas. During “tappy” hour, there are $6 gin and tonics on draft, complimentary pintxos, and $6 bites including crisp-edged, creamy-centered ham croquetas, blistered shishitos, and deviled eggs. Pair them with the Barvale G&T, created by Tim Hagney and made with The Botanist gin, manzanilla sherry, lemon juice, mint syrup, Islay scotch, and Q Indian tonic.
The front patio of this classy Divisadero bar is an oasis, warmed in the sun and lush with plants — the ideal setting for brunch (and a few beverages). Add fried chicken to your kale salad, get a churro waffle to share, and sip on a special Botanist G&T from beverage director Dzu Nguyen. It’s flavored with shiso and chrysanthemum flowers, fizzed up with Q Indian tonic, and abundantly garnished. Come evening, the Arts and Crafts-inspired wood-paneled interior beckons, and stays open until 2 a.m.
Bellota, which is located in the ground floor of the Airbnb headquarters in SOMA, is a great place to explore a range of gins as well as an assortment of tonics, whether your preferences lean toward the delicately floral, softly herbal, or spiced with cardamom, angostura bark, and vanilla. When you order the Bellota G&T, the waiters bring you a bottle of tonic, a carafe of The Botanist gin and a bulbous glass filled with ice and a big corsage of Spanish herbs. There’s also a full cocktail menu, sangria by the pitcher or glass, flights of sherry, and funky Basque cider. Paella comes four ways and you can order your pan split half-and-half if you like.
9. Cafe Du Nord
Come for the cocktails, stay for the music. At this subterranean venue (located underneath the landmark Swedish American Hall), you’ll find an elevated bar program plus an indie-focused concert lineup. Grab a seat at the bar to take in your show and order the Cafe Du Nord G&T — a pour of The Botanist gin, Aquavit, lingonberry shrub, and tonic, garnished with a lemon twist, fennel fronds, and fresh lingonberries.
10. The Beehive
With its gold accents, quirky vintage-style chandeliers, and low, loungey couches, The Beehive, which opened in April 2018 in the former Range space in the Mission, is drop-dead gorgeous. Start with Pigs in Blankets, then choose from silky mezcal-spiked cheddar fondue or one made with cave-aged cheese and saison. Ask for the grapefruit-garnished Beehive G&T, made with The Botanist gin, manzanilla sherry, elderflower, and a rosy splash of bittersweet Cappelletti, the brainchild of bar manager Emilio Salehi.