Sonya Yu

The San Francisco cocktail bar's newest menu is a collaboration with 16 of the city's best chefs, including Dominique Crenn, Traci Des Jardins, Brandon Jew, Ravi Kapur, and Melissa Perello.

Alison Spiegel
July 06, 2018

Twice a year, every January and July, Trick Dog debuts a new cocktail menu. But anyone who's been to the award-winning San Francisco bar knows that this isn't just any seasonal switch-up. And anyone who's spent an evening trying the bar's inventive drinks knows that the cocktails themselves match the effort put into the menu presentation. The menu—its contents and its format—are totally unique. Think, an airport map, a zodiac wheel, or a children's book, complete with illustrations and poems.

Today, Trick Dog releases its twelfth menu: a cookbook called Trick Dog: The Joy of Cocktails, featuring 13 cocktail recipes built in collaboration with San Francisco-based chefs who have inspired owners Josh Harris and Morgan Schick

While the elaborate mural project—which consisted of 14 public murals around the city—that came before it might seem hard to top, Harris and Schick pulled out all the stops for this latest menu, amassing a veritable who's who of the city's leading chefs.

The full roster includes Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn, Gabriela Cámara of Cala, David Nayfeld of Che Fico, Craig Stoll of Delfina, Tom McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow of Flour+Water, Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club, Brandon Jew of Mr. Jiu’s, Kim Alter of Nightbird, Melissa Perello of Octavia, Evan and Sarah Rich of Rich Table, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions, and Angela Pinkerton of Theorita.

Sonya Yu

The Joy of Cocktails is the team's first ever cookbook, and the first time they've formally printed their recipes (although they've never hesitated to share when asked). Each cocktail comes with a brief bio of the chef(s) who Harris and Schick collaborated with, and a line or two describing the significance of the drink. 

And all the proceeds go toward La Cocina, a local non-profit that supports low-income food entrepreneurs, primarily women from communities of color and immigrant communities. It's an organization that is near and dear not just to Harris and Schick, but to all of the chefs involved. 

A true industry collaboration, the endeavor of developing each cocktail was not a one-size-fits-all package, Harris tells me over the phone. One afternoon, Brandon Jew came by Trick Dog's kitchen with a bag of his own ingredients—Chinese almonds and osmanthus— and together, the trio developed the drink, which includes bitter melon bitters. Gabriela Cámara, meanwhile, insisted on having Harris and Schick to Cala for a big dinner to develop her drink, which is inspired by the salsa that tops her sweet potato taco. 

Sonya Yu

It's true: These cocktails are not for fairweather cocktail drinkers. Kim Alter's contains a syrup made from roasted beets, while Angela Pinkerton's, inspired by her bourbon walnut pie, requires a chocolate consommé. Ravi Kapur's rum-based drink contains coconut "furikake." But the complex, labor-intensive recipes are just the point. Harris envisions readers approaching it like they might any other ambitious cookbook, spending a whole weekend gathering ingredients and attempting a recipe or two. Like the drinks themselves at Trick Dog, this book is one to spend quality time with.

The Joy of Cocktails will be available at the bar and on the website starting July 6.