High Diving

Tradition reclaims maligned libations

Everything deserves its shot at redemption–even high-octane cocktails with salacious names and bad intentions.

Ask Tradition's beverage director, Ian Scalzo, whose "dive bar" menu–one of eight themed drink lists at the Bourbon & Branch team's newest bar–has put cheap-drunk drinks on the path to righteousness.

Snag a confessional-like "snug" (aka booth) and order Scalzo's version of a Mind Eraser ($22 for two) to rewrite those woozy college memories. By adding Punt E Mes and nocino to vodka and house-made coffee liqueur, the bartender achieves deliciously rich and dark flavors.

Scalzo also reinvents the Slow Comfortable Screw Up Against a Wall ($9), rebuilding the sugar bomb with bourbon as a foundation instead of sloe gin, and accenting it with peach soda and absinthe. The result is a less-sweet sipping drink focused on citrus and peach flavors.

Even the Frozen Margarita pictured above ($20 for a small pitcher; $40 for a large) has its pedigree renewed. Rather than throwing the switch on the blender, Scalzo uses crushed ice for his rendition, and incorporates house-made seasonal syrups like salted watermelon.

This is a drink you'll want to remember the morning after.

Tradition, 441 Jones St. (at O'Farrell St.); 415-474-2284 or tradbar.com