Erik Adkins


The glow of over a hundred bottles of whiskey glimmers off the barman’s smooth head, accentuating the perspiration as veteran drinksmith Erik Adkins works away, mixing cocktails and pouring the amber goodness to the packed-in patrons at Hard Water.
The Pier 3 whiskey bar is the latest Charles Phan venture, this time featuring whiskey—one of the better lists in the country—and New Orleans cooking. Phan, Adkins, and Slanted Door accomplice Jennifer Colliau are exploring the state of American whiskey, regionally and agriculturally, all the while serving tried and true cocktails and damn good Southern food.
Adkins has been in the bay for over two decades behind various bars and knows a thing or two about the hearty umber he pours. Using Colliau’s own handcrafted syrups, the two steer the ship. “We’re not trying to reinvent anything,” he says. “We just want to make the best cocktail we can with simple, but longstanding ingredients.”
Sunshine calls for a good drink and Hard Water is proud to feature a cocktail of their own design with the Bourbon Lift. “Jennifer’s idea, my recipe,” says Erik as she chills the bourbon and coffee liqueur, whips the organic cream, and puts the finishing touch of soda water to billow the white cloud over top the glass. One sip and you’re transported back to the root beer floats of childhood summers.
This time though, as Erik grins in the background, the childhood nostalgia is soaked in delicious bourbon.
Text by Alex May
Photography by Pierre gussman


Bourbon Lift

1.5 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
.5 oz Small Hand Foods Orgeat Syrup
.5 oz Straus Organic Cream
.5 oz House Spirits Coffee Liqueur

Shake all ingredients, strain into chilled fizz glass.
Add soda water while stirring violently. Wait for a second for the foam to harden. Then add remaining soda to complete the lift.