San Diego Reader 2015 guide to craft cocktails

Margaritas, breakfast cocktails, mescal, Hotel Del

Craft Cocktails 2015!

Join two Reader special operatives as they taste their way through the Craft Cocktails 2015 special issue.

Join two Reader special operatives as they taste their way through the Craft Cocktails 2015 special issue.

Park & Rec

4612 Park Boulevard, University Heights

If San Diego had an official drink, it would almost certainly be a beer. Something hoppy. (How is there not an America’s Finest Brewery in town yet?) Which leaves San Diego cocktails free to represent America’s Finest City through less official, more focused, ways. Consider the Cabrillo, a cocktail at University Heights’ Park & Rec (4612 Park Boulevard, University Heights) that is named after one of our marvelous parks.

The park, of course, is named after the explorer who first sailed into San Diego Bay. But the drink, created by Revelry Cocktail Co. owners Anthony Schmidt and Trevor Easter, owes much more to Mexico than Europe. “Anthony and I love three things very much,” explains Easter. “Drinking delicious tropical drinks, amazing ceviche, and Mexico. Last year, we spent a good amount of time in Tulum, the Yucatan, and Oaxaca. We ate some of the best ceviche on the planet and thought we might be able to create a drink that shared some of its characteristics.” Yucatan ceviche supplied pineapple and lime. St. George pepper vodka added a savory element. Mezcal brought smoky exoticism. “And on the rim, we have seasoning made from Tajin — a Mexican lime salt — Old Bay seafood seasoning, and sugar for sweetness.”

(Before I knew all this, my note on the drink was, “Tastes like you’re drinking Mexican food. Cactus. Light, sweet, a little smoke.”)

Revelry designed Park & Rec’s lineup to be reminiscent of a casual backyard get-together. The Cabrillo does that just fine. Elsewhere, crafty local bartenders are finding all sorts of other ways to evoke, inspire, and simply delight. Cheers.

— Matthew Lickona

Your inner child needs a cocktail — What if your taste buds never developed an appreciation for distilled spirits? By E.V. Hepworth

Mother’s Ruin gets a makeover — Mary Beth Abate

Goes great with Mexican food — Mexcal is not just a cheap version of tequila. By Chad Deal

The Diva’s rye humor By Barbarella

Breakfast cocktails and brunch shots — People will drink anything in the morning if you present the option. By Ian Anderson

The alcoholic version of the Slurpee — In 1947 Albert Hernandez changed the cocktail world when he added crushed ice to the Margarita. By Patrick Henderson

I want you to understand the spirit — Cervantes Magaña has a bigger bar at home than most bars in San Diego. By Chad Deal

Coronado’s crowned king of cocktails — Try to find a cocktail Jose Palma doesn't know. By Ed Bedford

You’ll never get a drink made from this recipe in any bar, anywhere — There will be a reckoning. By Walter Mencken

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