Drinks

Shim, Shim, Sherry

Aperitifs, spritzers and other light cocktails from a new book

Upon cracking open the just-published The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level ($25), we had one question:

What the what is a shim?

"You know those little wedges you put under a table leg to keep it from getting wobbly?" San Francisco-based author Dinah Sanders asked us. "Turns out people need them, too."

"I initially began exploring lower-proof drinks as a way to extend my evening without overindulging," Sanders explained. "What I've learned since is that there's just as much satisfaction to be found at this end of the spectrum as there is up top."

Many of the local bars that contributed recipes to the book agree--and you can taste their creations around town.

Instead of treating low-alcohol drinks like spritzers and aperitifs as ersatz cocktails, bars such as Elixir Saloon, Range and Bergerac are now featuring entire menus of low-octane drinks based on sparkling wines, aperitifs like vermouth or cocchi, or fortified wines such as sherry.

Other bars, such as Two Sisters Bar & Books in Hayes Valley, simply include drinks like the Port of SF (see the recipe) on their regular menus without warning or fanfare.

Tipple? Yes. Tipsy? No.

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