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Three Cocktails to Try This Summer

New drinks from Carnitas' Snack Shack and Cucina Enoteca, plus a true classic at Pardon My French


Carnitas' Snack Shack's Sun-Beet cocktail. | Photo: Lyudmila Zotova


Where: Carnitas' Snack Shack
What’s in it: White rum, lime, simple syrup, absinthe rinse
Creator: Mai Pham

Beets have played a starring role in three memorable cocktails I’ve tried in the last few months: The Nolen’s The Forgotten Visionary, Oryx Capital’s Del Huerto and, most recently, the Sun-Beet at Carnitas' Snack Shack’s new Embarcadero location.

Bar manager Mai Pham created this riff on a classic daiquiri as an homage to the local farms that supply Carnitas' Snack Shack and as an accompaniment to the menu’s hearty sandwiches. “Beets are super-earthy and subtly sweet,” she says. “They pair well with anise-like flavors, so the absinthe rinse on the glass really brightens the drink.”

Also try: The Brit Beachcomber (gin, Campari, pineapple, falernum, lime)



Cucina Enoteca's Trifecta cocktail

Where: Cucina Enoteca
What’s in it: Tequila, Lillet Blanc, Aperol
Creator: Matt Dunlop

Del Mar’s Cucina Enoteca has come up with a really lovely menu of race-day inspired cocktails that’ll be available at least through the end of racing season. This one includes two of my current favorite spirits: Aperol and Lillet Blanc. Aperol’s subtle grapefruit flavors make it an ideal partner for tequila. And Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif wine, rounds everything out with its lightly floral notes.

Also try: Il Giardino (thyme-infused gin, Amaro Nonino, honey water, rose water, lemon)


Death in the Afternoon

Where: Pardon My French
What’s in it: Champagne, absinthe, simple syrup
Creator: Ernest Hemingway

I love Rosie Schapp’s cocktail columns in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Her June 26 column was about Champagne-based cocktails and highlighted a drink I’d never tried: Death in the Afternoon, invented by Ernest Hemingway, who famously recommended “drink three to five of these slowly.” A few days after reading Schapp’s column, I was at Pardon My French, a new-ish Hillcrest restaurant, and there it was on the menu. They add simple syrup, which makes the cocktail far more accessible. Warning: this isn’t a drink for everyone, especially folks who aren’t fans of absinthe. It’s sophisticated and strange and lovely on a warm day.

Also try: Blood of the Scorpion (619 Scorpion Pepper Vodka, blood orange, grapefruit liqueur, lemon, simple syrup)

Got suggestions for a future column? Write to 2kellydavis@gmail.com.

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