Michael Mina restaurant pays homage to Alexander the Great


Downtown San Francisco’s famed restaurant, Estiatorio Ornos, wants you to feel like an emperor while sipping its new line of cocktails inspired by one of history’s most powerful rulers and famous drinker. era: Alexander the Great.

The suite of eight cocktails created by Michael Mina’s restaurant’s head bartender, Anthony Attanasio, takes drinkers on a journey through some of the warrior’s greatest battles, spanning the Middle East and Mediterranean to the era before Christ.

The drinks pay homage not only to the lands Alexander conquered, as well as the Greek and Egyptian heritages of the restaurant’s chefs, but also to the former king’s style of government. While the old-school warlord shamelessly spread Greek culture throughout the Middle East, he also absorbed many local customs and traditions, leading to unique blends of Greek and Persian culture. These blends and hybrids are reflected in the Alexander the Great cocktails from Estiatorio Ornos.

For example, The Prophecy – based on apple brandy with Calvados, topped with homemade peach gummies and inspired by Alexander’s conquest of Thrace (now known as the Southeastern Balkans – encompassing much of Bulgaria and its borders with Turkey and Greece) – looks to the region’s stone and orchard fruits for its aroma, while letting the cocktail’s Gray Goose vodka linger in the background – plan to allow “all the other flavors in the cocktail to shine through,” Attanasio said.

But one cocktail that’s sure to stand out on the menu is The Sovereign King, which mixes with a clarified milk punch, or “one of the oldest cocktails known to man,” Attanasio said. According to historian David Wondrich, the first written recipe for milk punch dates back to 1711 and was favored by the great and powerful of the time, including Benjamin Franklin.

From left to right: The Mole of Alexander, Heir of Pantheon and The Prophecy are all cocktails inspired by the conquests of the former King Emperor, Alexander the Great. | Nader Khouri/Courtesy of Mina Group

“It’s pretty old school. It’s like what many founding fathers [used to] beverage“, Attanasio said.

Another cocktail on the menu that is sure to make a royal entrance: Les Larmes de Darius. It is topped with frothy bubbles made from skimmed blood orange water.

Alexander’s Mole, based on the Warrior King’s Siege of Tyre, is sure to make an impression with its print of a map of the seat and path, or ‘mole’, that Alexander built to conquer the places on unleavened paper.

Don’t worry though; the ink and the pellet are edible. And if you have a big appetite, Estiatorio Ornos offers a happy hour menu including a tuna and falafel pita pocket, hummus, Kaluga caviar, halloumi popcorn with thyme and Aleppo honey, a Greek burger and “Athenian” fries that complement all the flavors of the Mediterranean-inspired cocktails.

Ultimately, Attanasio hopes these battle-inspired drinks will appeal to the discerning palates of San Francisco cocktail connoisseurs and live up to the city’s reputation as one of “the world’s most iconic cities for cocktails”.

See also

Estiatorio Ornos’ happy hour bites include a range of Mediterranean-inspired treats. | Courtesy of MINA Group

To that, we hope that Alexandre will raise his glass.

Bite your teeth into Estiatorio Ornos’ new happy hour menu, offered daily from 4-5:30 p.m. | Courtesy of MINA Group

🕔 Happy Hour: 4-5:30 p.m. daily

📍252 California St.

☎️ (415) 417-3969



About Walter Bartholomew

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