Meet Your Mixologist: Cold as ice at the Burritt Room 

Doesn’t it always feel like the Broadway Tunnel is the last stop between the hustle and bustle of San Francisco’s “official” downtown and the rest of The City? Well, it doesn’t have to be. That can now be the Burritt Room, a new space inside the Crescent Hotel. That is where we met up with bartender Kevin Diedrich, who used to be at PDT in New York, Bourbon and Branch and the Ritz. Guests can expect a very sophisticated experience in which attention is poured over little, fun details (and, of course, into the cocktails). The  historic little space is named for Burritt Alley, which is named after the place where Sam Spade’s partner was shot in the novel “The Maltese Falcon.” 417 Stockton St. (inside the Crescent Hotel), San Francisco, (415) 400-0500,

We’ve noticed that everything you use to make drinks is extremely cold. Yeah, it’s one of the things where I believe you give a customer a cocktail in the coldest glass possible. Same thing with beers, you always want a beer in a nice, cool glass — it’s the same thing with cocktails. Glass chillers are at either end of the bar so that each bartender has their own glass chiller. So all my glassware comes out completely frozen. And then we keep all of our mixing glasses that we store our cocktails for in the glass chiller, too.

And your stirring glasses. People usually use pint glasses. What are you using? These are Japanese mixing glasses. They’re called yarai glasses. We used them at PDT [Please Don’t Tell] and my friend from Cocktail Kingdom sells them. They’re super-nice, they’re etched, you can almost do about two cocktails in it. I just like the presentation of it. A mixing glass looks like a pint glass, because it is, and it actually devoids people from taking mixing glasses. As a bartender, I used to put mixing glasses on the bar, people would take them, fill them up with water and walk away from them.

We just love that you serve your cocktails with a little extra on the side in a decanter. That’s a thing I’ve seen done in the past. The bar I worked in, in Brooklyn, was called Clover Club. It was something they had done in the past. We also used to do club service at the Ritz, so small decanters were for the soda or cranberry. Some of it is presentation; some of it is kind of the deception that you’re getting a little bit more. And then some of it’s delivery; sometimes you get a cocktail server dropping a cocktail off and there’s spillage everywhere. So you fill it about three-quarters of the way and then the remainder into the [decanter] served with crushed ice.

Given you are at the Burritt Room, and history has shown us people love adding an “o” to the Burritt Place sign, are there fears of vandalism here too? I know my friend likes to joke about it. He’ll text me and say he’s coming by for a burrito.

The Critical Mass


  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • ½ oz. Aperol
  • ¼ oz. sweet vermouth

Stir ingredients together with ice. Strain into a martini glass.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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