The Ti Punch is the one drink that Bar Agricole’s co-owner Thad Vogler says he’ll never take off the menu. Simplicity is an underrated quality in cocktails these days, and nothing is simpler than Ti Punch, a combination of cane syrup, rhum agricole, and lime peel. Its presentation is underwhelming, but its power and complexity are exceptional.
“When you go to Martinique, it’s what everybody drinks—the wealthy and the poor,” says Vogler. “Through one drink, you’re connected to a culture and a history. Only a few cocktails in the world do this as forcefully.”
Few in San Francisco have directly improved and influenced the Bay Area bartending scene as much as Thad Vogler and Eric Johnson of Bar Agricole. Nothing behind their bar escapes careful consideration, from the ice (five different kinds) to the spirits (most local and biodynamic). With juices and produce coming from local farms, the drinks are flawless, perfectly measured, unadulterated libations like the Ti Punch (rhum agricole, lime, cane syrup).
Tucked away on 11th Street near DNA Lounge and Slim's is Bar Agricole from cocktail wizard Thad Vogler (with a food menu by Brandon Jew, formerly of Magnolia). The bar takes its name from rhum agricole, the term for rum made from fermented sugar cane juice as opposed to fermented molasses (which is how most rums available in the U.S. are made)
As Mr. Vogler tells us, "As it is made from the fresh plant it has much a much more vegetal aroma and flavor. You get a real sense of the cane itself instead the more vague, simply sweet connotations of molasses based rum. This makes agricole fun to mix with."