Toasts' Tippler’s Tea Gets Your Irish Up

Enjoy a mood-shifting beverage that goes from smooth to smoky to sweet as the ice melts.


Catie Connolly makes a Tippler's Tea at Toast.

Photo by Lori Eanes

The evolution of palate for Toast’s bar manager Caitie Connolly has evolved on more or less the same track as the establishment itself. Back when Toast was still a wine bar, Connolly came to the Rockridge spot from Marc 49, where she had learned to taste the wines that bar specializes in. Once Toast got its full liquor license in early 2012, then-bar manager Caitlin Laman (now at SF’s renowned Trick Dog) started training Connolly. “She taught me how to taste cocktails like I taste wine,” she recalls. Connolly took over managing Toast’s bar in January 2013. Later that same year, Toast expanded into the former dress shop next door, with full a restaurant kitchen and seating. Given the creative gusto Connolly gives to the bar’s offerings, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s cooking the entrees next.

“I like cocktails that make you feel something more than the sum of their ingredients,” she says, endeavoring to have something on the menu for everyone. That includes an impressive roster of nonalcoholic choices. One she’s working on now is a take on the classic Shirley Temple called Don’t Call Me Shirley, which should be popular with the families with children who crowd the rare south-facing patio in the warmer months, before singles, couples, and other grown-ups fill the bar later in the night.

March’s cocktail of the month is definitely for grown-ups: Called Tippler’s Tea, it is a nod to St. Patrick’s Day in general, and to Connolly’s Irish family specifically. “They’ve been in San Francisco since my grandfather’s grandfather. My grandfather used to take walks with his grandfather in Golden Gate Park, and all the gardeners were Irish. My grandfather’s grandfather would have a glass of sherry with him, and he would pull bottles of sherry out from the crooks of trees as they were walking, and refill.” In homage to her forebears, Tippler’s Tea includes a dry sherry, Jameson, made tannic by an infusion of Irish breakfast tea, and an alchemy of other ingredients to create a mood-shifting beverage that goes from smooth to smoky to sweet as the ice melts.

—Stefanie Kalem


Tippler’s Tea

1 1/2 ounces Barry’s Irish breakfast tea–infused Jameson

1/2 ounce Lustau Manzanilla sherry

1/2 ounce Cocchi Americano

1/4 ounce Combier orange liqueur

1 dash Abbott’s bitters


Build ingredients in a 10-ounce rocks glass, add ice, and stir. Garnish with a lemon twist.