A More Perfect Union by Wayne Curtis
The Atlantic, September 2010
The Rickhouse isn't just adapting classsic cocktails--the Laphroaig Project is basically a Prohibition-era drink called the Last Word, with the volume turned up to 11--but also borrowing from the fresh-market approach. "The whole concept was to take the East Coast emphasis on vintage cocktails and technique, and to combine that with the San Francisco ethos," Erick Castro, the general manager, told me. The bar uses free-range egg whites, organic produce and berries, and unprocessed sugars to give drinks a bigger, more rustic sensibility while supporting local agriculture and highlighting seasonal flavors. The Kentucky Buck is a good example. It's a tall, effervescent drink that follows the blueprints of a Moscow Mule or Dark and Stormy, but the base is Bulliet bourbon that's been infused with fresh local strawberries, then introduced to lemon juice, Angostura bitters, and ginger beer. It tastes like a classic that's been on a farm holiday.