OSL: Talking Cocktail Magic With PCH’s Kevin Diedrich

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Last year's Cocktail Magic set up
Last year’s Cocktail Magic set up

Photo Credit: Jorgensen Photography

In less than 24 hours, thousands of people will descend on Golden Gate Park for the 10th annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. The event is truly unlike any other in the world. One of the things that makes it so unique are the food and beverage offerings. Many of the city’s top restaurants will be serving everything from barbecued oysters to margarita pizzas and chef Roy Choi is cooking a four-course meal at a pop-up restaurant in the middle of the park’s redwood forest. 41 wineries and 30 breweries will be pouring drinks and local bars will be slinging cocktails at a special dedicated area called Cocktail Magic.

The Cocktail King
The Cocktail King

Located in McLaren Pass close to the culinary stage, Cocktail Magic will feature six of SF’s most beloved bars: Alembic, Homestead, Horsefeather, Whitechapel, Trou Normand, and Pacific Cocktail Haven (P.C.H.). Each bar will offer a couple of drinks in a sensational setting. The bars are all neon with electric decor and a Cocktail King that stands nine-feet tall. Cocktail Magic’s look was created by David Korins Design, the set designers who did Hamilton. The magician Jon Armstrong will perform mind-altering illusions for guests.

Kevin-Diedrich in his bar
Kevin-Diedrich in his bar

Photo Credit: Allison-Webber

P.C.H., one of our favorite watering holes, is owned by award-winning mixologist and spirits guru Kevin Diedrich. A beloved bartender in the SF community, Diedrich goes above and beyond to make his guests feel special (he has monogrammed cocktail napkins for regulars) while serving some of the most innovative cocktails around. How will he translate this sense of hospitality to the masses at Outside Lands? We reached out to Diedrich to find out. “Outside Lands is being handled by a company who does large events, so my small team doesn’t have to take on that much prep,” Diedrich explains. Luckily, he won’t be up all night juicing citrus. “Thank God no, we’ve got people/resources for that.”

Inside P.C.H.
Inside P.C.H.

So what does he have to do? First, he’s solves the giant math problem of how much alcohol he’ll need. “You estimate how many cocktails you’ll be serving, how many oz per in a cocktail, then you do the math based on volume of each ingredient,” he says. “Only thing you don’t account for is bitters because they ‘expand’ in batches. Which means the flavor intensifies as the time passes.” Next he helps source the ingredients. Come festival time, he’ll make sure the drink is up to pair, which actually isn’t too much work for a bartender. “Outside of helping source ingredients, come up with recipes and tweak flavor day off, I personally don’t have to do much.” Diedrich is excited about Pacific Cocktail Haven’s presence at the festival and hopes it will encourage newcomers to visit his Sutter Street brick and mortar. “It’s always fun to be a part of festivals like this. It gives the bar exposure and introduces people to your bar that haven’t been able to go yet,” he says. “Plus it gets you out from behind your bar and into a crazy fun setting.”

Cocktails at the 2016 festival
Cocktails at the 2016 festival

Get your drink on with Diedrich all weekend at Outside Lands. He’s mixing up a bourbon-based drink with hints of pineapple and coconut cream called Larceny and a second drink, the Simple Jack, a flavorful combination of Japanese whisky, apple brand, bitters, and East India Sherry. Cheers!

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