Over the weekend I spent some time at my favorite San Francisco dive bar, the 500 Club. (Confession: My friend Rachel tends bar there.) Like any true dive, it’s not the place you go to find inventive drink concoctions, 10 kinds of bitters, or the latest obscure liqueur brought over from Europe. But oddly enough, it is the place I tasted Canton—a ginger-flavored liqueur from France—for the first time.
Canton is a blend of Vietnamese baby ginger, VSOP Grand Champagne Cognac, orange-blossom honey from Provence, and vanilla. It also comes with some street cred, having won Best in Show Liqueur at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Most important, it’s damn good, and one of the first liqueurs to pique my interest in a long time. The ginger tastes fresh and spicy without being bitter, and the honey adds a nice touch of sweetness. I had mine mixed with soda water and fresh lemon, but I could have easily enjoyed it on the rocks or as a welcome addition to a classic margarita or Mojito.