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The Coast News

Lick the Plate’s go-to cocktails in Encinitas

David Boylan

Photo: From left Scarlett Hannon, Luke Barger, Rosie Harrison, Liz Trujillo, Amber
Munnelly Photos David Boylan

I’ve always been a fan of a well-made cocktail. Be it a old-school classic with no frills or
maybe an updated twist on a classic or something craftier with names and ingredient
combinations that are straight out of the hipster bar playbook. If it tastes good, fits
nicely with the season, and goes down easy I’m a happy guy. I always enjoy asking,
during the appropriate time of year of course, to have my barkeep mix me something
“Autumnal”. It just sounds so elegant.

As with restaurants, I like to keep a nice lowbrow/highbrow mix going when I go out for
drinks. I kept that in mind when I came up with the idea for this column along with
where I would feed the cocktail fueled appetite brought on by imbibing in a few of these
at each location. I’ll put out one big disclaimer here before we get into the goods of this
column. There is absolutely no excuse in this day and age with the convenience of Uber
and Lyftt or a good old-fashioned cab for that matter that anyone should be driving with
any amount of alcohol in his or her systems. Play it safe folks, it’s so easy and so worth
the money to let someone else drive.

That said and speaking of hipsters, the concept for this cocktail piece came to me at The
Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas where they have a drink called the Hipster Cowboy.
While I’m not sure that such a cowboy actually exists, it was a clever play on words and
it sucked me right in. Well it worked as this delicious concoction had me coming back
on a regular basis. Even when the drink was not on the menu bartender Luke Barger
whipped one up for me. I finally found out what goes into this oh-so- trendily named
drink and it’s quite the combination. He pours equal parts bourbon and Cocchi
Americano with Crème de Peche liqueur, bitters, lemon juice and a spritz of Herbsaint
Absinthe. Easy on this one folks as it is delicious but packs a punch. If I were to plan
what to eat after a few of these I’d consume them on a Sunday afternoon at the
Moonlight Lounge and be very hungry when they start serving their amazing Sunday
only fried chicken. I’m sure they will make one for you if you ask.
I’ve written about the American Legion Post 416 several times and had always thought
of it as a beer and a shot kind of joint. That was until recently when I mentioned the
column to bartender Rosie Harrison and she told me about the Legion Toast. She
grabbed fellow bartender Liz Trujillo who promptly mixed vodka, honey, a splash of
cranberry and champagne. I’m a big fan of bubbly and these are a good way to get those
bubbles with a kick. Ideally there would be some kind of dinner happening at the Legion
to indulge in after a few of these but that would probably entail starting early. I’m not
opposed to that as they have some solid meal nights at the Legion.

Over the course of several research dinners for my Open House column a while back I
met bartender Scarlett Hannon who served me up their fabulous food at the bar. She
also introduced me to the Lemongrass and Ginger Julep and it’s a most excellent
cocktail. Makers Mark, fresh lime juice, house made lemongrass and ginger simple syrup
and fresh mint makes up this beauty and it is oh so tasty. No need to leave the
restaurant after drinking up a hunger as the menu at Open House is so good. Their
Lumpia would be a great way to start.
We continue the cocktail crawl up Coast Highway 101 to Bread & Barley who has a solid
cocktail program from bar manager Amber Munnelly. Her take Winter Fashioned is a
very seasonal take on the Old Fashion. Rye whiskey, cinnamon simple syrup and
Angostura bitters with the dramatic edge of the orange peel lit on fire to caramelize the
drink. It’s then garnished with the burnt orange peel and a Luxardo cherry and a
cinnamon stick.

I’ll wrap this one up with the true old school classic Old Fashion at O’Hurleys from
bartender Ryan House. It’s the perfect drink to fuel my Touch Tunes app driven dance
party then wake up to a juke box bill that could be classified as a symptom of a music
disorder. I’m in denial of that being a thing so it’s all-good. But since we are on the topic
my prefered 3-song set list with my Old Fashion would include Ray Charles circa 1965
with a big band, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – Who Loves You, and for good
measure some Dave Brubeck – Take Five. Food after O’Hurleys could go many
directions but I the magnet on Juanita’s pulls me the hardest. It’s a good thing.
As always, enjoy responsibly and keep it under control…the drinking and eating!


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