The roomy, romantic Devil’s Acre, the latest project from the Future Bars team, (Bourbon & Branch, Rickhouse, Local Edition, Tradition) looks the part.
The San Francisco cocktail bar pays homage to the city’s wild past and is situated in North Beach, on the historic Barbary Coast trail. It looks as though it has been frozen in time, caught in the 1850s. Upstairs, there’s a massive bar; down below, an intimate hidden space, the Remedie Room, styled after an apothecary. Both serve excellent cocktails as well as old-timey soda fountain delights.
But Devil’s Acre is more than just another great cocktail venue—it’s also the rare bar that can help you keep New Year’s resolutions. Recalling pharmacies of yore, there is a whole section of “Remedies & Elixirs” listed in the vintage newspaper/almanac-esque menu. But this is not merely a charming nod to yesteryear. Darren Crawford, who created the cocktail menu, consulted with Bay Area herbalist, Caitlin Covington, to create an elixirs menu inspired by classic apothecary recipes, resulting in drinks that taste great and possess healing properties.
At Devil’s Acre, they use a cocktail, soda water or the house aromatic elixir (a 19th century concoction of citrus peels and spices) as the drink’s foundation, administering drops of one of the eight house elixirs to that base.
You might try an Immunity Tonic, laden with echinacea, ginger, goji berry, rosehip and elderberry, meant to fight winter illnesses, or a Stress Soother packed with wild oats, lemon balm, passion flower, chamomile, lavender and California poppy. The Hangover Cure elixir is redolent of meadowsweet, willow bark, marshmallow root, wild oat and peppermint leaf, and aids in soothing headaches, nausea and dizziness, all while rehydrating.
Will these elixirs of the past cure what ails you? There’s only one way to tell: drink up.
To make the Hangover Cure, you’ll first need to visit a well-stocked herbalist or health food store. The strained elixir will keep indefinitely.
Yields approximately 750 ml
- 120 grams meadowsweet (a perennial herb)
- 120 grams willow bark
- 120 grams marshmallow root
- 120 grams peppermint
- 240 grams wild oats
- 1 liter Everclear
Put the meadowsweet, willow bark, marshmallow root, peppermint and wild oats in a jar and add the Everclear. Let stand for 2 to 3 weeks, then strain and sweeten with honey to taste. Administer 20 drops directly or add to a cocktail or glass of soda water.