The Church cocktail at Locanda.
But oddly enough, I find myself drinking light-bodied aperitifs at many of the city’s best restaurants.
I’ve enjoyed these at places like Cotogna, AQ, and Locanda, where the Church (pictured here in the foreground) is a model aperitif cocktail. This one features both Aperol and Cocchi Americano, two amari aperitivi with a fruity sweetness and low-alcohol content that’s accented by a brisk herbal bitterness. Lemon and gin round out the drink; while gin is a heavier spirit, its juniper thrust is just the sort of flavor to set my appetite pumping.
And, though it was an unusually brisk January night when I savored my Church cocktail, its pastel orange hue was not just a reminder of warm days to come but the perfect prelude to my winter meal as well.
557 Valencia St., SF