Shelf Life

Ashley Rose Conway Shows Us Around Her Bar Cart

Ashley Rose Conway may know her way around a suped-up cocktail with lots of 2017 bells ‘n whistles, but she’s also no stranger to an old-school well drink. “My father used to own a bar when I was growing up in New Jersey—it was a dive bar, nothing fancy, but when he saw cocktails becoming a thing, he started tinkering at home with his own creations,” says Ashley, who soon followed suit. After a move to the Bay Area and some serious study, she launched her site Craft and Cocktails, an homage to San Francisco’s best bars with loads of original recipes (did someone say carrot-ginger mimosas?). The next round: Contributing to the new book, The Art of The Bar Cart, out this October. Until then, the eight essentials she can’t live (or libate) without.

1) St. George Botanivore Gin

“I use a lot of local spirits when I can, my favorites being from St. George distillery. All of their products are wonderful, but their Botanivore Gin is my favorite.”


2) Lo-Fi Aperitifs Gentian Amaro

“Amaros tend to be bitter and dark, but this one is a little bit sweeter and brighter. I’m actually working on a cocktail with amaro right now—it’s a twist on a classic Paper Plane.”


3) Small Hands Foods Syrups

This Bay Area company makes a wonderful orgeat syrup. It’s female-run, and they produce other great cocktail syrups, like real grenadine.


4) Spirit Works Distillery California Sloe Gin

“In Sebastopol, California, Spirit Works makes gin, rye, and whiskey. One of my favorites from them is sloe gin, a type of gin that’s infused and distilled with sloe berries. It’s a little bit fruitier, and it’s really delicious and refreshing. They’re one of the first that started making it here in the states.”


5) Plantation Pineapple Rum

“I’m also really into rum right now. Plantation does a dark pineapple rum. You can sip it on the rocks, throw it in a daiquiri, or replace it for other kinds of rum in a lot of tiki drinks—and it’s absolutely amazing. This is one I keep in-stock all of the time now, but it doesn’t last.”


6) The Bitter Housewife

“Instead of being super concentrated and strong, this line of bitters is a little bit fresher, so you can use more in your cocktail without it being too over-the-top.”


7) Toschi Amarena Cherries

“For garnishing cocktails, I use amarena cherries in place of the bright maraschino cherries. They’re a little bit higher-priced, but they’re worth it.”


8) Hangar One Vodka

“For vodka, I like Hangar One. They’re over in Alameda, California, and the head distiller is a female, which is rare in the industry. I always like supporting them.”