The Twisted Library — November 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Drinking the Devil’s Acre



When I received word that I was invited to a book reading about San Francisco and its cocktails, I couldn’t have been more elated. I spent a year in the historic city; ironically enough, as a bartender. I slang cocktails and poured fancy wine for eight hours a day. After work, my hipsters friends and I would hit up the local bars to try the hippest boozy drinks. Paying homage to a section of town known for its unsavory bars and deviance, the Barbary Coast, author Duggan McDonnell, titled his book “Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter From San Francisco and Her Cocktails.”

Used as the perfect backdrop, the event was held at The Shanty, a local bar connected to the New York Distillery in Brooklyn. Invitees were invited to sip on a Pisco Punch or one of the many hand-crafted cocktails featured in the book. Later, McDonnell read a few passages from the book and regaled the audience with famous cocktail lore. It was definitely one of my favorite events to have attended.


The book, illustrated in vintage black-and-white photographs, gives stellar insight into the world of “mixologists, bar chefs and cocktailians” who are responsible for the current obsession of craft cocktails. McDonnell is not just an author; he’s a barkeep and drink historian. The book is part history, part comedy and part recipes. It includes twenty-five of the most iconic cocktail recipes that San Francisco is known for and several cocktail recipes that were said to be perfected in the city. “Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter From San Francisco and Her Cocktails” is enjoyable, creative and perfect for history buffs. So grab a few friends, pick up some Pisco and try to concoct some of those artisan cocktails in the book.

Twisted Talk: Did  you know San Francisco was responsible for some of your favorite cocktails? Do you know someone who would love to read this book? Discuss below!

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