HMMM: Call it a cocktail conundrum. If a splashy drink out on the town is a rare treat for you, then you likely want that drink to be delightful. Even extraordinary. You want it to be worth the money and the time and maybe even the way you'll feel in the morning (but of course you won't be overindulging). But oftentimes we order a cocktail and it is, well, pretty "mock"tail. Not as in a drink without alcohol, but a drink that mocks us with its mediocrity. Which leads us to recommend that you and all serious spirits fans put Sept. 19 through 25 on your calendar. Those are the just-announced dates for San Francisco Cocktail Week, where the drinks are real, interesting, and not at all mocking.
STIR IT UP: It's year five for the week-long festival, an event that happens at multiple locations throughout the City by the Bay. And it isn't all about imbibing; classes are offered, as are eating opportunities. But traditional crawls and cocktail parties will be on the calendar as well. We're thinking of trying something basil-y and cucumber-ish this go-around. Bet we'll find it, and 100 different variations on the theme, too.