If you’re looking for a winter cocktail, head over to Sycamore Den, an upscale neighborhood bar in Normal Heights. Sycamore Den specializes in tiki-style cocktails as well as traditional cocktails. For a creamy, coffee-inspired whiskey dessert cocktail that tastes like chocolate milk, the Noggin’ Boots is the drink to order.
Watch as the general manager of Sycamore Den, Sarah Ellis, makes the Noggin’ Boots.
Did you grow up in San Diego?
I grew up in Park City, Utah. I’ve been in San Diego for 12 years.
How did you get into bartending?
I started drinking craft cocktails at El Dorado after I graduated college. I really fell in love with the historic lore surrounding certain recipes and decided that it was a career path I wanted to get into.
Can we expect new cocktails on the menu soon?
We are currently playing with new recipes and will be putting out a spring/summer menu in the next couple of months!
What’s your favorite cocktail?
I love a good Old Fashioned.
When you’re not mixing drinks, what are you doing on your spare time?
I’m either surfing, practicing yoga or playing with my band Lady Parts.
- 1 oz. Ugly California Rise and Shine (coffee infused white whiskey)
- .5 oz. SelvaRey Cacao Rum
- .5 oz. Caffe Lolita
- .5 oz. orgeat
- 1 fresh cream
- Full egg
- Garnish with nutmeg
What’s the origin of the Noggin’ Boots?
I was really inspired to make a holiday-inspired creamy drink after first tasting the Ugly California Rise and Shine. The flavor from the Dark Horse coffee is so unique and delicious, I couldn’t wait to play with it.
How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?
Everyone at Sycamore Den tends to describe it as chocolate milk for adults. It has a rich cacao flavor that has a nice intensity without being overly sweet.
What would be the key component in this drink?
I would say the blend between the Selvarey cacao rum and the Ugly California. The blend of coffee and cacao creates a perfect strong base for a creamy dessert cocktail.
What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?
People tend to be really floored by the depth of flavor with the light body of the cocktail. It’s one of those drinks that you can definitely have a few of.
How does the Ugly California Rise and Shine and egg add to the taste?
The Rise and Shine is the spirit base of the cocktail and adds the main flavor component. The egg adds a lot of richness and creates a very creamy texture.
How long will this seasonal cocktail be on the menu?
As long as I can keep it!
What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?
Since this is a dessert cocktail, I would pair it mostly with rich finger foods like spiced nuts and bacon wrapped dates.
What kind of experience can someone get at Sycamore Den?
Sycamore Den is a neighborhood craft cocktail bar. It’s great for anything from date night to happy hour and everything in between. When I’m not working, I love to come in for our live music on Thursdays or Sundays and cozy up by the fire with a tasty drink!
3391 Adams Ave., Normal Heights.
(619) 563-9019 or sycamoreden.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 entertainment. You can also follow him on Instagram at @nardvillain or @thenardcast