When the McBrothers converted their old Nob Hill haunt Rams Head into an artisanal cocktail bar last summer, the starting drink menu was a wee 14 pages long. There are liquor jellies, four whiskey flights, and flights for brandy, rum and tequila. Among the mixed drinks, an endless list of classics shares page space with variants made from Edgefield and Cornelius Pass' stock: A Nieux Carre with Hogshead whiskey instead of rye (and their excellent 13-year Alambic brandy in place of cognac) is a slightly caramely take on the classic Cajun cocktail Vieux Carre, while a Manhattan variant makes the same whiskey trade but compensates with a bit of hot sherry. There's still some tuning to do there, but a pomegranate-infused sparkler was a revelation as part of a three-deep bartender's choice cocktail flight—a novel and welcome addition to the mixology repertoire—matched with a serviceable Blood and Sand and a copper-cupped Apple Pie that tasted a lot like apple pie. With cocktail prices significantly lower than Pearl and West End competitors', Rams Head is a solid utility cocktail bar.
Happy hour: 3-6 pm and 10-midnight daily. Food specials and $1 off drafts, wells, and McMenamins wines.