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Whenever I dine out, I always start with a cocktail. Sometimes it is a classic, like a martini, but more
often it is a house specialty—a cocktail created specifically for the restaurant by one of its passionate
bartenders. On my recent visit to Pizzeria Delfina in Palo Alto, I tried the Ragazza. The drink was
delicious—the flavors of the cocchi bianco, grapefruit, and elderflower blended together beautifully.
But what I loved most was the story behind the cocktail, and the bartender’s explanation for why he
chose the ingredients; I could taste the love and effort that went into creating it.

In this issue of Bacchus, you will read about the history of the cocktail, learn how to behave in a bar, get
insider tips on how to throw a cocktail party in three easy steps, and enjoy many more spirited stories.
The centerpiece of this issue is a story about ice and its role in cocktails throughout history. Written by
one of San Francisco’s top spirits writers, Camper English shares with us his quest to make the clearest
and best-shaped ice for use in spirits and cocktails.

Today, more and more bartenders are stocking their shelves with quality small-batch spirits, many
of which are made by local artisanal distillers. Take for example one of our favorites, Spirit Works,
a small family-owned-and-run distillery in Sebastopol. You can find their story in this issue’s
“A Day in the Life.”

Karey K Walker

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