By Pat Sherman
Photos by Jeff "Turbo" Corrigan
During his nearly 10 years as a bartender, Scott Morgans has become a good listener, taking things in stride when a patron starts to clear the air, put on airs or blow off steam.
Now, as bar manager of the Gaslamp's newt hotspot, AIRR Supper Club and Night Club, Morgans is taking the hot air out of conventional cocktail ingredients, working with executive chef Brian Redzikowski to launch an innovative drink menu with a modern flavor profile.
Using a trendy culinary technique employed in the AIRR kitchen known as sous-vide (pronounced "soo-veed"), cocktail ingredients are vacuum-sealed in plastic bags, then left to stew for months at a time.
One of the resulting beverages, Blueberry on the Rocks, starts with a macerated blueberry and vodka mix that's given the sous-vide treatment.
"We Cryovac all of the air out of the bag, and then we let that sit for four to six months," Morgans says. "The flavor that creates is just amazing."
The mixture is then poured into a martini shaker with ouzo (an anise-flavored aperitif) and shaken with an egg white.
"You just get this intense, blueberry-flavored cocktail," Morgans says. "It's amazingly creamy and rich."
Meanwhile, when someone is up in the air about what they want to drink, Morgans recommends the Eight-AIRR's signature cocktail, comprised of Grey Goose L'Orange vodka, an orange slice, lemon and cranberry juices, with a muddled Serrano chili.
"It's got that little hint of spice on the end of it, with a sugar rim," he says.
The restaurant, nominated for a 2011 Orchid award in interior design by the San Diego
Architectural Foundation, is divided into two disparate halves, with a cocktail lounge bathed
entirely in a spicy, red color, and the dining room done up in starkly contrasting, minimalist white.
Morgans says the red room best suits his personality.
"It's more of a kick-off-yourshoes, jump-on-a-bed-vibe," he says. "We've got these big TV trays
where people can sit down on the couches or beds and enjoy a cocktail and eat their food.
"You've got a cocktail in one hand and the chef 's tuna tacos in the other. Is there nothing sexier than eating dinner in bed at a nightclub?"
How about the go-go girls gyrating in the red room windows Friday and Saturday nights?
"That doesn't hurt," Morgans says.
Music: Hip-hop (work); Metallica or Toby Keith (fishing); classical (studying)
Plan: Working toward a biology degree at Cal State San Marcos
Flick: Any of the Airplane movies
Book: Where the Red Fern Grows
Addiction: Pulling pranks on people