The San Fransisco cocktail is one of the best sloe gin drinks you will find. This liqueur (it is not gin) is sweet, very much like a bright plum, and mixes well with a variety of mixers.
In this cocktail, it is paired with both varieties of vermouth and two bitters in a sweetened martini-like cocktail that is quite tasty. Whether you enjoy it before or after, there's no dispute that this classic cocktail makes a great dinner drink.
Because it is heavier than the drier martinis, it is a great option for a dessert cocktail and pairs nicely with cheesecake and desserts with a hint of chocolate or fruit. The San Francisco Cocktail also makes a nice aperitif, particularly if you're looking for a martini that's lightly alcoholic (those others can be quite hefty).
How classic is it? Brian McGregor of San Francisco's Wingtip notes in a Bold Italic post that he found it in the 1937 London bar guide, Cafe Royal Cocktail Book. That's what we consider a classic!
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Garnish with a cherry.
How Strong Is the San Francisco Cocktail?
The strength of sloe gin varies greatly and it is not as strong as the average bottle of gin, which really helps keep the San Francisco Cocktail nice and mild. With 15% ABV vermouth, this cocktail has an average alcohol content of just 16% ABV (32 proof).