Ruka and I love the beach so much we decided to drive down the coast from Oceanside to San Diego and try to find a couple of unique bars or restaurants that have notably interesting cocktails. So off we went down the Super Highway. It's fortunate for me that my “little brother” Antonio lives in San Diego. He told me the first place that would be fun is a little bar called Sidecar. Sure, enough it was just the kind of place I was looking to find- an offbeat, funky, neighborhood watering hole that’s done with class.
When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was that everything was in its place. There were several types of games off to the right in the game room and the bar was to the left. Behind the bar were two chalkboards, one with a list of brews, and the other, a list of cocktails. I had arrived late in the afternoon before the place really got busy. If you were a bartender, you could tell by the way the bar was set up, the bartender was ready for the crowd that was soon to follow.
"I thought to myself, who would think to put hops in tonic.."
The first cocktail on the chalk board was a Sidecar. Maybe you're not familiar with the cocktail, but a Sidecar is like a brandy margarita with sugar on the rim. At Sidecar, they make the drink with Raynal Cognac, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice. It is an awesome drink
But the cocktail that caught my eye was the West Coast gin and tonic. At Sidecar, they make the drink with Old Harbor Gin, Betty Jane's Hopped Tonic and lime. Owner Jessy Melton who also tends bar sometimes, and lucky for us he was there, introduced me to Betty Jane's Hopped Tonic. I thought to myself, who would think to put hops in tonic. It turns out it's a brilliant idea and the people at Betty Jane's Craft Sodas make five types of hopped tonic. Each type of hops gives the tonic water a unique type of bitterness. Most people know Betty James originally for their popular Ginger Beer. Betty Jane's Craft Sodas is a small soda company from Healdsburg, California that blends natural ingredients and good water to make great sodas.
Some of the other drinks on the chalk board include, a Rat's Ass, better known as a Moscow Mule; a Bee's Knees, a drink that we've seen at a few locations recently; a Finnegan’s Wake, which curiously enough is made with a touch of Fernet Branca; a Tequila Buck which is known as Uncle Buck elsewhere; an Old Fashioned, the drink that takes me back to my youth, and a drink called Penicillin, it is made from Monkey Shoulder Scotch, fresh ginger and lemon juice, then topped a Montelobos Mezcal float and served on ice. Now that's the medicine I need. But the one drink I’m not familiar with was the Morena Boulevardier. It is made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Campari, and Sweet Vermouth. This drink has the sweetness of the Vermouth, the bitterness of the Campari and apparently more than a trace of Bourbon. Okay, now I get it, it’s their Boulevardier craft cocktail and is named after their boulevard. I first saw this drink at TRIO, there is was made differently. It was called a Green Walnut Boulevardier made with Knob Creek Rye, Walnut Liqueur, orange bitters, Campari, sweet vermouth and orange peel. “This simple cocktail, basically a Negroni made with whiskey or rye instead of gin, dates back to the late 1920s, but has recently enjoyed a comeback in bars across the country.” .
But what really makes Sidecar different than most bars you go to you, is the craft beer list. I have listed below the links to the several beers that are on the chalkboard today, but I want you to know that both sides of the chalk board change every week. There are new cocktails that are featured and there are different beers to enjoy, and that's why you must go back to Sidecar and experience it again.
Yea, check out these breweries:
In a few weeks, I’m going to do a deep dive into craft breweries and see what we can learn about how the craft beers and ales are made and why they have become so popular. Stay tuned….
Here’s a couple more of the products I mentioned.
Oh BTW, if you’re hungry there is a food truck parked outside, and you guessed it, it’s not always the same truck.
Jessie you're doing a great job keep up the good work.
Well Ruka loved Sidecar. She’s was off flirting with the guys playing pool, while I was at the bar talking to Jessie. We left there and she wanted to go home and take a nap and I wanted to go out and find some more places with unique drinks, so I took her back to our room at World Mark San Diego, left the car with the valet, and off I went to Kettner Boulevard.
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Enjoy, drink responsibly.
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