I’m on the hunt for a cocktail so good I’m inspired to write poetry about it. I’m looking for a drink so good that it makes me think seriously about making bad decisions. I’m looking for…basically, the best cocktails in San Diego.
Lucky for me, our community is filled with talented bartenders who can inspire me to improve my imbibing habits. I’ve contacted local mixologists to find out what the professionals can offer. This week, I checked in with Shawn at Death By Tequila.
Bartender Name: Shawn
Years bartending: 8 years.
Hometown: Encinitas, CA
Venue name: Death By Tequila
Cocktail Name: Resurreccion de los Muertos
Key Ingredients: Ghost pepper, piloncillo syrup, Frida Kahlo Blanco
Cheers!: How would you describe the cocktail?
Shawn: [It’s] a unique blend of flavors. The Ghost pepper, also known as Bhut Jolokia, is one of the hottest peppers in the world. Piloncillo syrup is a traditional Mexican sweetener made from unrefined cane sugar. It has a rich, dark color and a deep, molasses-like flavor with notes of caramel and brown sugar.
This syrup adds a rich, sweet, and caramely flavor and balances ghost pepper’s strong, fiery flavors. A strong and bold drink that would be perfect for those who enjoy spicy and intense flavors.
Cheers!: What inspired it?
Shawn: The inspiration behind “Resurrection of the Dead,” a spicy dark tequila cocktail, came from overcoming death and rising again.
The team began experimenting with different ingredients, trying to find the perfect balance of flavors to evoke the resurrection image. We knew we wanted to use tequila as the base spirit, as it is a strong and powerful drink, much like the idea of overcoming death. But they also wanted to add elements representing the resurrection’s rebirth and renewal aspect.
We decided to use lime juice for its refreshing and tangy flavor and its ability to cut the heat of the tequila. Piloncillo syrup was added for sweetness, representing the new beginnings that come with resurrection.
And finally, a spicy ghost pepper-infused syrup was added to give the drink a kick of heat, representing the fiery passion and energy that comes with rising from the dead.
We wanted to incorporate a visual element to the drink, so the dark fluid in matte black coup glass is a powerful visual contested with a tajin rim to the glass to represent the bright colors of the earth and the rejuvenation and rebirth that come with rising from the dead.
The Resurrection of the Dead spicy tequila cocktail is more than just a drink. It’s a story, a symbol, and a journey. A reminder that even in death, there is always the possibility of rising again, stronger and more alive than ever before.
Cheers!: What does it pair well with?
Shawn: It’s the perfect evening cocktail solo with a book, or [you can] indulge in these dark flavors over a chat with an old friend about life. Pairs great with Lamb Shank Barbacoa.
Cheers!: What’s the best thing about bartending?
Shawn: Bartending is really social, so I meet many kinds of customers. I learn a lot about people. I also really enjoy making drinks which I find creative and artistic.
Cheers!: One thing readers should know about you?
Shawn: I’m an agave expert. If you’ve ever been curious about agave, come down to DxT for some deadly drinks and ask me all your agave questions.
Stay tuned to Death By Tequila on Instagram @deathbytequila, or visit www.deathbytequila.com to make a reservation or review their menu.
Visit Shawn at Death By Tequila at 569 S Coast HWY 101 in Encinitas. Restaurant hours are Monday – Thursday, 3:00 – 9:00 PM, Friday – Saturday, 11:00 AM – Midnight; and Sunday, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. A new location in North Park is on the horizon.
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