My Friends

Arrow Up

Arrow Up
Arrow Down
,
  • Mon
    25
  • Tue
    26
  • Wed
    27
  • Thu
    28
  • Fri
    29
  • Sat
    30
  • Sun
    31
Green Flash Beer Pairing Dinner May 26, 2015 A six course dinner created by barleymash executive chef Kevin Templeton and paired with various beers from Green Flash Brewing Company. 64 other events on Tuesday, May 26
 
From the Editor
The taxpaying citizens of San Diego should not pay for a new stadium
Music feature
Providence duo are busting eardrums for the long haul
Seen Local
The media artist/designer wants women to challenge the idea of what’s expected of them
News
Lawsuit challenges city-funded nonprofit’s authority to make land-use decisions
Seen Local
The third in our series on the artists awarded grants through the Creative Catalyst Fund

 

 
Log in to use your Facebook account with
San Diego CityBeat

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on San Diego CityBeat
 
Home / Articles / Eats / Cocktail Tales /  JSix's new cocktail menu: scents of place
. . . .
Friday, May 09, 2014

JSix's new cocktail menu: scents of place

Nate Howell's drinks capture regional flavors—and smells

By Kelly Davis
bartender Nate Howell
- Photo by Kelly Davis

Nate Howell hands me a round thing that looks like it could be a piece of candy or maybe some fancy dried fruit. Nope—it's a cedar-wood ball that's been soaked in gin, and it's the garnish for the Hunt & Gather, the Northwest-inspired drink on JSix's regional-themed cocktail menu. 

Made with cedar-infused Aviation gin, grenadine, fresh grapefruit juice and egg white—with that cedar ball floating on top—it's a delicate, nuanced drink, served with a shot glass of Oregon Pinot Noir that you add as you sip. Howell, JSix's head bartender, gives the egg white a good dry-shake (without ice), to give the drink an almost meringue-like froth.

"I always like to suggest drinking it with this to your nose," he says, pointing to the cedar ball, "so you can really smell the aromatic in the wood. And then after you have a sip, sort of top it with the Pinot and it really kind of cuts through the cedar, and it cuts through that juniper quality of the gin and really rounds out the cocktail."

Earlier this year, JSix (616 J St., Downtown) underwent a major rehab, and Howell, who'd been the head bartender at Cusp at Hotel La Jolla, was tapped to head up the cocktail program. The idea of doing seasonal cocktail menus wasn't singing to him. Inspired by seeing a bartender at Aviary in Chicago use cedar in a cocktail, Howell, working with JSix chef Christian Graves, came up with the concept of regions—West, Northwest, Northeast, etc. Each of the six drinks on the menu includes a spirit, and flavors, from that region. Aviation gin, for instance, is based in Portland. Here, it's infused with cedar chips from Oregon Redwoods. In Our Own Backyard, the cocktail under the "Local" header, is made with rum from San Diego's Ballast Point (plus Marie Brizard apricot liqueur, house-made salted orgeat syrup, fresh lime and mint). It's "a really nice sort of quintessential San Diego, tiki cocktail," Howell says. The Hola Y'all, the cocktail representing the South, includes both Del Maguey mezcal from Oaxaca and Texas-made Tito's vodka that's been infused with Graves' spicy barbecue rub. If you like heat, try the infused Vodka on ice with some soda. Straight-up, it's fantastic, too, but potent.

"The whole menu's really basic," Howell says. "It's fresh citrus, herbs we grow in the yard"—JSix's rooftop garden. "It's a bunch of simple things added up to make a really great final product."

Howell also selected for the menu three well-known classics (Negroni, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour) and three obscure classics (Bijou, Brown Derby, Chicago) and plans to expand both lists. Flip over a few more pages and you come to a section called "Medicine Cabinet" that features a bar tool of the month for purchase (currently a bar spoon, it changes quarterly) and a short list of house syrups for sale—including that salted orgeat.


Email kellyd@sdcitybeat.com or follow her on Twitter at @citybeatkelly.




 
 
 
 
 
 
Close
Close
Close