The fine folks behind Art in the Age Spirits are pulling out all stops in their stylish stagecoach of cool, sharing the release of their two star players: ROOT and SNAP.  And lucky for those of us who happened to be out on the West Coast last week: one of those stops was San Francisco.

As well-informed and effortlessly as locals, the Philadelphia-based crew outfitted the back room of Rickhouse–one of SF’s premiere and most stylish cocktail dens–to host a preview tasting of the two unique spirits.  The candle-lit, speakeasy atmosphere, the suspender-sporting bartenders, the rough wood coziness, all perfectly accented the down-home meets retro-chic of ROOT and SNAP.

Based on ingredients used in old colonial recipes, the two singular tastes are unlike anything you’ve tried– edgy, bold and comforting.  Thus, Rickhouse’s world-class mixologists took up the challenge of concocting no less than six specialty cocktails featuring the debutant spirits.  I had the privilege of sampling all six (perhaps not the most prudent decision, but very well appreciated, I assure you).  Ranging from deep, luscious concoctions involving tequila, tobacco bitters and ROOT, to bright, zesty, sours blending fresh lemon, pisco and SNAP, the cocktails dazzled and displayed the amazing versatility of their headlining liquors.

Complimenting the exceptional drinks, gourmet platters were placed in key spots around the intimate setting, featuring fabulous cheeses, breads, and crudites from San Francisco foodie favorite Bi-Rite Market.  However, what really stole the show in the munchies category, were the irreverently good desserts that showcased the flavor of the two liquors.  “ROOT Snaps,” a cheeky take on the ginger snap, were my personal favorite, but all the treats won the easy adoration of the party guests.  I am hoping an Art in the Age cookbook will be soon to follow.

As the evening slipped its way into night, and the sweet crooning melodies of the live jazz trio filtered over lively conversations, I was left with the sweet lingering notes of ROOT and SNAP as much in the mind  as on the tongue.

(New Yorkers, don’t despair!  Art in the Age is currently on tour, hosting preview tastings all over the country.  As soon as a date is set in New York, as well as locations that serve these tasty spirits: you will–of course–be the first to know.)

–Ava Fedorov

photographs by Jeffery Owens for Socially Superlative