If you're looking for an introductory scotch drink, inspired by the old fashioned, then this cocktail is for you.
Watch as the lead bartender of West Coast Tavern, Cameron Holloway, makes the Stag.
Did you grow up in San Diego?
I did! I'm lucky enough to have been born and raised here (thanks, mom and dad). It took moving across the country during my college years to fully appreciate how wonderful San Diego truly is. I look back at all of the opportunities I had, the beach days, hiking and fishing days and picnics by the pool, and I realize how blessed I am to have been raised here in such a beautiful city.
How did you get into bartending?
It really did fall into my lap. I got my first industry job when I was just barely 21 as a bottle service girl at the Hard Rock in the Gaslamp Quarter. Some of my fellow Charger Girls were already downtown and in the bar scene, and I was introduced to the right people. You meet so many people from so many different places, bars open and close, you get restless and need a new view, someone offers to teach you to make drinks, and one thing leads to another. Before I knew it, I was bartending five nights a week and having a blast. I've been extremely fortunate. I can honestly say that I've enjoyed every job I've had in this world, and I've been lucky enough to work with people who I could learn and grow from.
What kind of experience can someone get at West Coast Tavern?
I'm being honest when I say that West Coast Tavern is one of my favorite industry jobs I've ever had. I'm so happy here. It's such a family environment, and I am actually excited to go to work. And it's not just the rad people I get to work with, either. It's the customers and neighborhood crew, too! Our crowd is a huge part of what makes West Coast so special. Sure, we have busy and crowded nights when there is a huge show in our theatre (The Observatory: observatorysd.com), but it's equally as fun and exciting on any given night. Recently someone called us their "local watering hole," and I like that. It feels like home here.
What's your favorite cocktail to make?
I really love making a traditional Collins. I like how refreshing and clean the drink is, and it's got a nice presentation.
When you're not mixing drinks, what are you doing on your spare time?
A number of things! I'm running with my Great Dane/pit bull beast-of-a-dog Sam or cruising around South Park and North Park with friends and taking in everything the local neighborhood has to offer. I am also a certified Pilates instructor, so that's a big part of my life. I'm extremely close with my family, so any chance I have I drive out to Alpine to spend time with them. And lately, I've been having a winter itch, and we've been driving out to Big Bear whenever we can. I'm blessed with an extremely rad family, friends and with being in San Diego, there is an endless supply of hiking trails, restaurants and beaches for us to cruise to.
- 1/4 oz. simple syrup
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 2 oz. Monkey Shoulder scotch
What's the origin of the Stag?
The Stag is the scotch twist on an old fashioned.
How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn't had this before?
I would describe the Stag as a smoky, spirit-forward old fashioned variation. If you still want to taste your scotch, but want a little more going on, this is the drink to try.
What would be the key component in this drink?
With any old fashioned, it is really centered around the spirit itself. In this case, it would be the Monkey Shoulder scotch.
What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?
I find that scotch lovers are happy campers. If you love a nice scotch, but maybe don't want it so straight-forward as to drink it neat or on the rocks, this would be the best option.
Could you substitute the scotch with a whiskey?
Absolutely. Our Stag is modeled after the old fashioned itself!
What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?
I would pair this drink with blue cheese, pork belly or lamb. Scotch goes well with salty cheeses and salty/fatty meats.
West Coast Tavern
2895 University Ave., North Park.
(619) 295-1688 or westcoasttavern.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 on Twitter at @jarnard for everything music, food, beer and television. You can also follow him on Instagram at @nardvillain