We certainly have hit the golden age of cocktails. Skilled mixologists once were a rarity, but we’ve watched as they’ve swarmed to San Diego now on a mission to make classic concoctions and new combinations for thirsty locals. Technique and a touch of playfulness cohabitate in their hands to construct one hell of a drink that can knock us off our feet.
To watch San Diego’s cocktail transformation is truly a treat. Now, the term “craft cocktail” is not only embraced, it’s demanded by guests. Drinkers are getting smarter about what they want, seeking flavors beyond the basic rum and coke. These days, we’re seeing more and more cocktails incorporating coffee in unexpected ways, mezcal becoming a popular choice and amaro getting used in creative ways.
These trends have had another effect on San Diego lifestyle: more cocktail-related events and festivals. Culture & Cocktails at the San Diego Museum of Art has become one of the most popular celebrations of both drinks and art. The always-packed museum speaks volumes to the interest that San Diegans have in the consumption of cocktails, especially when paired with thought-provoking art exhibits and live music.
Coinciding with the recent start of baseball season, the Padres have announced CocktailFest taking place on May 20 at Petco Park. As part of the Padres’ “Party in the Park” series, CocktailFest will bring mixed drinks to the baseball field for the biggest happy hour in San Diego, stadium size. All you need is a ticket to that night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers to enjoy the food, live music, and of course, the drinks.
The Distilled Festival will join the San Diego County Fair on June 24, raising a glass to honor the best distillers and mixologists throughout San Diego and beyond. A cocktail competition will pair the best of the best against each other, while educational presentations will teach visitors about the barrel-aging and the science behind distilling. General admission tickets include a 10-tab wristband, plus admission to the San Diego County Fair.
The San Diego Spirits Festival, which takes place in August, is one of the city’s largest celebrations, spotlighting a huge variety of liquor purveyors and talented mixologists. The two-day festival attracts thousands of people from all over the country and has been ranked as one of the top cocktail festivals in America by Fodor’s.
This week on DiscoverSD, we spotlight some of San Diego’s top female mixologists, show you which bars to visit for a certain liquor preference, reveal some cheaper cocktail options and pick our favorite drinks to sip in San Diego. Happy drinking, San Diego!