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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Welcome to Boston, spring! We look forward to raising a glass in your honor, inspired by a winter jaunt this LUPEC lady took to San Francisco in March.

San Francisco is the land of eternal spring, it seems. Consistently crisp, rainy and damp, even on a bad weather day, the visit was a refreshing and reviving respite from our frozen home. My internal clock still said “hibernate” but it only felt right to drink according to our environment. A trip to the legendary Bourbon & Branch speakeasy in the Tenderloin district resulting in some delightful seasonal sipping at the hands of mixologist Darren Crawford.

The spot now occupied by Bourbon & Branch was a legit speakeasy from 1921 to 1933. First listed in the San Francisco Telephone Directory as “The Ipswitch — A Beverage Parlor,” it was purchased by industrious businessman John J. Russell in 1923, and operated from then on as “JJ Russell’s Cigar Shop.” His connections to notorious Vancouver bootleggers kept the alcohol flowing and snooping Prohibition Agents at bay. Vestiges of the venue’s sordid past still remain, including five secret tunnels. One of which, dubbed the “Ladies Exit,” granted safe passage to an exit a whole block away.

Next time you find yourself in the City by the Bay, you must pay this spot a visit—even if you’re over the Speakeasy thing and are tempted to order an illegal Cosmo just to be a pain in the ass. Don’t do that. Do be a polite guest and allow your arm-garter-clad bartender to make you a delightful concoction.

Bourbon & Branch and San Francisco’s eternal spring days are 3,000 miles away. Fortunately we can relive the moment here, with real spring and this refreshing, herbaceous libation.

BLACK ROSE
Created by Darren Crawford, Bourbon & Branch

A few sprigs rosemary
2 oz. gin
.75 oz. Lemon Juice
.5 oz. Honey Syrup
1 dash Black Pepper Tincture

Gently muddled rosemary with honey in a mixing glass. Add other ingredients and shake. Serve on the rocks in an Old Fashioned Glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

To make Black Pepper Tincture: macerate black peppercorns in grain alcohol until desired spiciness is achieved.

Cin-cin!

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