In this edition of Mixology 619, we chat with Ken Lindstrom, the bar manager of Rare Form and Fairweather, located next to Petco Park in East Village. Here’s a little background on Lindstrom.
Did you grow up in San Diego?
I am originally from Chicago. I moved to San Diego in 2009 to be the general manager of a hotel. After doing the hotel thing for nearly two years, the craft cocktail scene was in full swing, and I knew it was time to return to bartending and learn this crafty style that was becoming so popular.
How did you get into bartending?
I got into bartending through a series of lucky encounters and hard work. At the end of college I landed a barback and security job. If you work hard and do your job well, eventually, the people who don’t do their job well will fall off and you’ll move into their bartending position. For me it usually only took two-to-three months time to move on up. I had to repeat this “apprenticeship” process in every new city I moved to, but, I learned something new each time. I feel like time spent as a barback and/or security is a valuable part of becoming a bartender. Although, the movie “Cocktail” is one of my favorites, it doesn’t often happen where you just walk into a bar looking for a bartending job and you’re slinging drinks right away like in the movie. You gotta put in time working for the bartender before you become the bartender.
How long have you been working at Fairweather?
I started working at Fairweather and Rare Form in January of this year. I remember the first time I walked into Fairweather to have a drink, I looked around and thought, “This is the happy place. I’m on vacation here.” And now I’m fortunate enough to get to work here and learn from the cocktail masterminds that built this bar.
When you’re not creating awesome drinks, what are you doing in your spare time?
I write and record multiple styles of music, read, study drinks and spirits, and travel as much as possible.
We also spoke with Lindstrom about the origin of the juicy drink Intelligent Life in the Universe and how he makes it.
Intelligent Life in the Universe
- 2 oz. tequila
- 2 oz. verdita (pineapple, cilantro, mint, serrano)
- 3/4 oz. simple syrup
- 1/2 oz. lime
- shaken. dump into collins glass
- 3-4 dash of green chartreuse on top
Garnish with mint sprig and orchid.
What’s the origin of the Intelligent Life in the Universe?
Intelligent life in the universe is based off of and incorporating a southern Mexican shot chaser called verdita. This spicy, juicy tequila and green chartreuse concoction is named for its living look and also after a book discussing the search for “exobiology” by Carl Sagan.
Why did you decide to stick to tequila when creating the drink?
Tequila was a perfect pairing due to the origin of the main ingredient. There were other spirits I considered (green chartreuse being the number-one, also, rum and gin), however, tequila was the most complimentary to the verdita (primary ingredient).
Did you want to keep the Caribbean theme?
The main theme of any Caribbean or tiki drink is spirit, lime and sugar. A daquiri (rum, lime, sugar) is a perfect example of a Caribbean cocktail. So, we’ve kept the Caribbean soul for this drink, but, added some southern Mexican influence to it.
How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?
I would describe this drink as juicy, refreshing, and herbaceous with a generous helping of booze and a spicy kick on the back.
What would be the key component in this drink?
The key ingredient in this drink is verdita. Verdita is a spicy herbaceous juice composed primarily of pineapple blended with cilantro, mint and serrano to create a deep green, almost photosynthetic looking liquid.
What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?
This drink pairs well with fish, carnitas and steak.
Watch as Ken Lindstrom makes this juicy and spicy drink.
795 J Street, East Village
(619) 255-6507 or godblessrareform.com
Jarnard Sutton is a multimedia producer for DiscoverSD and San Diego Union-Tribune. He loves providing readers with updates on music and events happening in San Diego. You can follow Jarnard at @jarnard for everything music, food, beer and television. You can also follow him on Instagram at @nardvillain