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

Brews with Views: San Diego’s Top 6 Scenic Sipping Spots

Where to enjoy a cold pint with an ocean view

Juniper & Ivy’s Frank Magnasco Makes Manhattans

The San Diego bartender is one of six competing next week in New York

Have a Beer with SouthNorte Brewer Ryan Brooks

Brooks is San Diego’s “brewing ambassador” to Baja
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.

Puesto's Next Top Taco

Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2018
    From burritos to bottomless mimosas, you choose San Diego’s best eats and drinks in 90 categories
  2. Personal Stories are on Display at the Museum of Man's 'PostSecret'
    Frank Warren collects deep, dark secrets for this community arts project
  3. The Best of North County 2018
    Our annual list of what we’re loving above the 56, from bites and brews to shopping, wellness, and arts and kids’ activities galore
  4. 31 Best Places to Live in San Diego
    Five local homeowners share their advice, tips, and tricks on how they sealed the deal
  5. Has Anything Really Changed Since Ballast Point Sold to Constellation?
    More than two years after the acquisition, misinformation and misunderstanding still abound
  6. Green Rush: Inside San Diego's Emerging Cannabis Industry
    Marijuana's legal. How did it go from evil death drug to medical miracle and billion-dollar industry?
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module