Edit ModuleShow Tags

The ABCs of Sycamore Den’s New Cocktail Menu

Aloe, banana, and celery are just three of the flavors you’ll find among these tasty new beverages


Published:

Sycamore Den's Aloe Can You Go cocktail. | Photo: Arlene Ibarra

Normal Heights’ Sycamore Den, which just celebrated its fourth anniversary, is one of those cocktail spots that serves consistently impressive drinks. The latest menu doesn’t disappoint. It features eight new cocktails, plus a Sycamore Den classic (the Wolf Ticket) and the Crime of Passion, a favorite from the most recent menu. I talked to Jesse Ross, the Den’s assistant manager, about the new menu and then realized the highlights of our chat fit nearly into a theme….

ABV: With big front windows that open onto Adams Avenue, Sycamore Den’s a great spot for some day drinking. But getting totally sloshed early on ruins good dinner plans. The menu features a couple low-ABV cocktails, like the Stalk Market (see below) and the Hunter Gatherer, which includes Jäegermeister and a spiced-raspberry-infused Cocchi Americano syrup. Low ABV cocktails are starting to show up on more menus, Ross says. “Not every drink needs 4- or 5-ounce pours of rum. It’s starting to be a conversation among bartenders about getting more health conscious.”

The Banana Bold Fashioned. | Photo: Arlene Ibarra

Aloe: The star of the menu is Aloe Can You Go. Made with tequila, Chareau Aloe liqueur, Liquid Alchemist’s tamarindo syrup, orange curaçao, and lemon, it’s a pretty damn perfect cocktail, and on my list of 2017 favorites. Ross said he’d set out to make something with tequila and tamarind, but couldn’t quite get it to work. Then he added the Chareau and everything came together. Garnished with a sprig of lavender and served in a coupe glass, it’s also mighty pretty to look at.

Averna: The Love Improved, a twist on a Manhattan, features Averna (a bittersweet amaro) that’s been infused with orange peels and cherries. Playing on the bittersweet theme, Ross added chocolate mole bitters and Punt e Mes, a sweet vermouth that leans bitter. The cocktail’s garnished with Averna-soaked cherries. It’s a boozy drink with lots of flavor, meant for sipping. If you dig spirit-forward cocktails, this is your jam.

Bananas: Speaking of spirit-forward riffs on classics, the Banana Bold Fashioned blends tropical with traditional. It’s made with Giffard Banane du Brasil liqueur, overproof rum, and bourbon. Velvet Falernum, a tiki staple, adds some sweetness. The cocktail’s garnished with rum-soaked banana chips that are set aflame before for fun and flavor. “You get this molasses, burnt sugar, rum, banana smoke with your first sip,” Ross says.

Celery: Fans of savory cocktails will dig the Stalk Market. It’s made with House Spirits’ Krogstaad Aquavit, fresh celery juice, vodka, and lemon. Taking inspiration from a cocktail by George’s at the Cove’s Stephen Kurpinsky, Ross added some acid phosphate to brighten up the drink and balance everything out. The effect is kind of like a Bloody Mary without the tomato juice. It’s refreshing, vegetal, and slightly savory. It’s the kind of cocktail you might find yourself craving on a warm Sunday afternoon.


Got a suggestion for a future post? Email me.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

10 Things I'm Drinking to This Thanksgiving

More than ever, we can be thankful for beer

Your Guide to San Diego's Best Happy Hours

Here's where to throw back a cold one while the sun's still out

Highlights from San Diego Beer Week 2017

The best beers, bites, and bashes
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle

Buy a Raffle Ticket, Win This Rare Sports Car

Donate to a good cause to seriously upgrade your ride
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. What to Drink at Hundred Proof
    Trust’s sister restaurant keeps the focus on approachable cocktails
  2. First Look: Born & Raised
    Everyone said don't do a steakhouse. So the damn kids at Consortium Holdings did with Born & Raised—to the tune of seven million bucks.
  3. 47 Outdoor Dining Spots to Try in San Diego
    From ocean views, rooftops, and garden patios to simple sidewalk people-watching, we’ve rounded up the city's best outdoor dining spots
  4. The Vegan Fast Food Revolution
    From Evolution to Plant Power, two local vegans look to revolutionize fast food
  5. Adele Stratton Leaves Noble Experiment for Jaynes Gastropub
    Her first menu features light, crisp, approachable cocktails
  6. World Eats 2017
    Join us for the inaugural celebration of San Diego's diversity in cuisine
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module