If you follow Jay Porter’s blog, you’ve probably already heard the news, thanks to his “radical transparency” approach to running his two restaurants, El Take it Easy and The Linkery.
Porter’s been toying with the idea of transforming The Linkery into more of a brewpub and making craft beer in-house. That dream, though, is far from being realized. The more concrete news is that El Take it Easy (3927 30th St. in North Park) now has a full liquor license.
For Porter, launching a cocktail menu began with in-depth conversations with Dean James, the former cocktail man at Alembic in San Francisco, about what kind of cocktails would fit El Take it Easy’s Mexi-American vibe.
“One of the interesting conversations we had was how a lot of the San Francisco, Chicago, New York—the prohibition-inspired cocktails programs you see in those places—didn’t really resonate with me and with us here in San Diego,” Porter says. “Historically, it was a different kind of culture here during Prohibition and the cocktail era.
Specifically, Tijuana went from a [ranching region] to a whole mixed area that was largely a playground for boozy Americans.
“A big part of what we’re doing here is embracing both sides of the border,” Porter adds.
The drinks Porter and James eventually settled on range from cocktails you might have found at places like Tijuana’s Aqua Caliente racetrack during Prohibition or a classy La Jolla joint in the ’40s. They came up with cocktails like the Tequila Daisy (agave blanco tequila, Damiana, house-made grenadine, lime juice and orange bitters), which, Porter explains, uses Damiana liqueur from Baja California instead of Cointreau because he and James think the original margarita recipe included it.
El Take it Easy’s liquor shelf is already stocked with high-quality bourbons (“Evan Williams Single Barrel is one of my favorites,” Porter says), craft tequilas and Ballast Point spirits, and, in the next few weeks, he’ll get a shipment of single-village mescals from Oaxaca, Mexico.
From 6:30 p.m. to midnight, Wednesday, June 8, Porter will celebrate the booze news and make all the new El Take it Easy cocktails available for just $5.45.