Expert Picks: Summer Cocktails

San Francisco doesn't exactly get scorching in summer--in fact, it's not even our warmest season--but the few blissful heat waves we do get sure make us thirsty. Summer drinks are typically made with lighter, un-aged spirits, served tall over ice, and are meant to refresh and rehydrate; Gatorade for a city where drinking is one of our favorite sports. Here's a sampling of some of the best summertime drinks from Camper English, a well-known SF cocktail expert and superstar tippler.

Updated: July 14, 2009

Fair-Weather Drinking


1700 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

The Smoked Cup: The Pimm's Cup is already a quintessential summer drink and, at Dosa's Fillmore location, they do it one better by adding the flavors of the grill into the mix. This drink calls for smoky organic mescal, Pimm's, black cardamom tincture and ginger beer, and it's garnished with cucumber and smoked sea salt.


1199 Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94110

Agricole Mule: This cocktail, on the menu at Beretta since it opened, calls for several summer drink essentials: rum, lime, a ginger beer approximation and mint. It's also a perfect fusion of two other summertime drinks--the Moscow Mule and the Mojito.

Slanted Door

1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA 94105

Indian Summer: This drink one-ups the gin-and-grapefruit Salty Dog by adding biodynamic elderflower syrup to the recipe. While there are only a few coveted outdoor tables at this Ferry Building restaurant, this drink will have you feeling shipshape for a walk along the water soon after.

The Alembic

1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Ramos Gin Fizz: This tiny bar and restaurant can be hard to squeeze into at night, but it opens at noon Fridays through Sundays, and you can stretch out with a paper, a meal and cocktails from the separate daytime drink menu. The best is the Ramos Gin Fizz, the foamy, fizzy, citrusy classic from New Orleans, where it's considered a breakfast drink.

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana

Pier 1.5, San Francisco, CA 94111

Pisco Sour: Take advantage of the pier-side patio seating this summer--and of a drink that tastes like summer all year round: the Pisco Sour, Peru's national cocktail. The wonderfully simple drink is just Peruvian grape brandy, lime, simple syrup, egg white to give it a nice frothy texture and a couple of dashes of bitters on top for decoration.

Park Chalet Garden Restaurant

1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94121

Sage Press: The ocean-facing Beach Chalet has the better view, but the Park Chalet on the backside of the building has the better weather. Surrounded by trees and the building to fend off the fog, you can sit on lawn chairs (on a real lawn) and enjoy a summer drink like the Sage Press (gin, sage, sugar, lime, ginger and soda) in real summer-like conditions.


1469 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

The Shipwreck: Tiki drinks, with their exotic names, custom ceramic bowls and abundance of garnish, were designed to be year-round escapist cocktails rather than summer fun drinks, though they work just as well as those. At Potrero Hill's Lingba Lounge, your Shipwreck is made with dark rum, fresh coconut juice, vanilla syrup and orange bitters, and comes served in a coconut shell.