In this episode of Mixology 619, the lead bartender of Park & Rec, Tony Way, shows us how to make a south-of-the-border-inspired smokey pineapple cocktail.
Watch as Tony Way makes the Cabrillo.
Did you grow up in San Diego?
I am not from San Diego. I grew up in Richmond, Kentucky. Between there and here, I have lived in L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, Louisville, Yellowstone National Park, and a few other places along the road. I moved to San Diego from Seattle about one-and-a-half years ago.
How did you get into bartending?
I started my hospitality/restaurant career when I was 16 with a worker’s permit at Western Sizzlin’... HA! The tips and fast-paced environment drew me in and never let me go. From there I moved to a steak house/family restaurant spot. I moved from server to cocktail server to bartender in about a year of employment there. Once behind the bar, I felt like this was the place to be. I got a job working at a club, The Buddha Belly, in downtown Richmond (which no longer exists), and I’ve been slangin’ drinks and smiles ever since.
How long have you been working at Park & Rec?
I am one of the original crew members here at P&R. We opened our doors to the public Memorial Day Weekend of 2015.
What kind of experience can someone get at Park & Rec?
We are trying to deliver a feeling of being at a backyard party. We want our guests to feel as if they are at home. I want this to feel like a neighborhood bar, which we very much are through the week. On Friday and Saturday nights, we become more of a destination spot because of our live music performances. We are doing something that I have yet to see anyone else do, and that’s delivering a versatile space that can be used so many different ways. Ultimately, it’s the place you throw a party, have a fundraiser, start or end a neighborhood pub crawl, etc. We want to be your backyard. There is a lot to take from that.
When you’re not mixing drinks, what are you doing on your spare time?
When I am not making drinks, I am either drinking drinks, watching movies with my lady or building fresh water fishing lures. It’s a hobby I picked up a few years ago. I’m pretty good it!
- 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 oz. pineapple gomme syrup
- 1 oz. green chili vodka
- 1/2 oz. mezcal
Chili spice rim and a pineapple wedge as a garnish.
What’s the origin of Cabrillo?
Trevor Easter (of Revelry Cocktail Co.) drew inspiration for The Cabrillo from a Mexican paleta (frozen ice pop) sampled in the Riviera Maya that contained peppers, pineapple and Tajin, which is a chili-lime-salt seasoning.
How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?
The Cabrillo cocktail combines green chili vodka with smoky mezcal, tart lime and pineapple and a chili-salt rim, for a drink that’s more savory and salty than fruity or sweet. Hands down, this is my favorite “gonna have a few of these” drink on our menu. It’s so approachable. For those who think they don’t like mezcal or smokey flavored booze, I challenge you to take step outside of your comfort zone and do your mouth a favor.
What would be the key component in this drink?
I would say the key component of the drink is the mezcal and pineapple gum syrup. The spice from the green chili vodka plays a supporting role to the smokey mezcal and the sweet/tart pineapple.
What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?
The reaction is usually, “Wow, this is out of control!” or “Whoa, I wasn’t expecting it to be this interesting.” It has a bitter quality about it that makes you want to come back for more.
Is the pineapple syrup house-made?
This particular syrup is from one of our favorite syrup makers, Small Hands Food. By far one of the best syrup makes in America in our book.
Do you have any other house-made syrups?
Most of our syrups, bitters and liqueurs are made in-house. My personal favorite is the cucumber-infused tequila we use in a few of our cocktails.
What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?
Tacos for sure! Loqui’s fish tacos from the Snack Shack with the Cabrillo are a perfect pair for a sunny San Diego afternoon.
Park & Rec
4612 Park Boulevard, University Heights
(619) 795-9700 or parkandrecsd.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