Last night marked the kickoff of this SF Chefs. Food. Wine. event in Union Square, a weekend-long orgasm of culinary grazing, seminar-ing and drinking meant to rival the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. The tent on the Square was filled with wine merchants from far and wide (some from local counties, including the yummy Morse/Il Giollelo wines from Amador County, and a couple Australians), as well as restaurants plying their bite-size wares (including a delicious strawberry gazpacho from former Top Chef contestant and Absinthe executive chef Jamie Lauren -- more on the weekend's food in a later post), as well as a number of local cocktailians including Brooke Arthur from Range, Thad Vogler from Heaven's Dog, and a delicious rum punch from the forthcoming SF Tiki bar, Smuggler's Cove.

But the cocktail that most tickled our taste buds, perhaps in part because it was our first, was a strawberry-gin concoction from NOPA's resident startender, Neyah White. It's ostensibly a three-ingredient cocktail, but the third ingredient is a culinary project of its own: a homemade strawberry shrub (four gallons worth pictured, learn more about shrubs here) which is a rich, vinegar-based syrup made from fresh strawberries and amounts to about ten ingredients in one.

Strawberry-Gin Shrub

1 oz. Bluecoat Gin
1 oz. water
1 oz. Strawberry Shrub (if you attempt this at home, recipe could obviously be reduced)
3 dashes absinthe

Mix gin, water and shrub in a shaker and pour over ice with dashes of absinthe on top.