beer alcohol cocktails cocktail recipe beer festivals Restaurant Review

  • The folks at Islands Restaurants invited me out for a happy hour last night to watch the Chiefs and Patriots game... no, I wasn't up north... I was in warm sunny San Diego and we do football happy hours different down here.

    For those of you outside of Southwest US (California, Nevada, Arizona), Islands is a casual American style restaurant / sports pub similar to Fridays or Applebees but with an awesome Hawaiian theme, great burgers, tiki cocktails, and frankly super gracious staff.

  • El Agave - it's the plant that when processed makes such delicious products such as agave syrup and tequila. In this case though, it is the name of one of San Diego's finest Mexican restaurants. For those of you who think "Mexican" is just tacos and burritos you are missing out on the fact that Mexico cuisines is as diverse as any other with influences from Europe as well as indigenous cooking techniques and plants.

    I have seen El Agave several times as it is located above one of my favorite liquor stores in Old Town San Diego. However I didn't know much about it until the PR folks contacted me recently and invited Heather and I to check it out.

  • A scene from Top Gun was filmed here, their bartender loves to create artisanal tequila cocktails and to top it off, San Diego Magazine's readers just named their chef, Accursio Lota, as "Best Chef" in San Diego - so who was I to say no when they approached us recently and invited us to stop by for dinner!

    Honestly, I am not typically a fan of Italian because I usually associate it with kitschy bottles chianti, heavy but tasteless spaghetti sauce covered pasta and pictures of the pope or mobsters on the walls. Over the past couple years though I am starting to warm up to it. What I discovered at San Diego's Solare Ristorante was a delightful interpretation of classic Italian but merged with the essence of the Southern California farm-to-table movement.

  • You've been to beer fests and wine festivals but there aren't that many spirits festivals that are open to the public unfortunately. If you are a fan of spirits and craft cocktails it seems that you're passion is best explored at a bar buying expensive cocktails and new liquors only to find out that you made an expensive mistake and are forced to either finish or let it go to waste.

    The San Diego Spirits Festival on the other hand offers new as well as seasoned fans a chance to explore spirits brand new to the market as well as celebrate with friends over tasters of familiar friends like Don Julio, Stoli, and Woodford Reserve. 

  • Happy National Rum Day! It seems like there is a "national _____ day" just about every time we turn around, but when it comes to something as delicious as aged rum we really don't mind! The nice folks over at Bacardi sent over a bottle of their new 8 Anos rum to help us celebrate and we hope you can get in the mood too with their recipe for "Old Cuban".

  • Some love Laphroaig as the flag bearer for Islay Single Malt Scotches because they love the peaty, smokey, almost overpowering flavor profile and other's don't. But this is certainly a unique manly spirit that I like to celebrate as part of my personal collection. The folks at Laphroaig know that I have been a long time fan of the various releases (especially the Laphroaig Triple Wood released last year) so they shared their latest with me as well, Laphroaig Select!

  • There's no shortage of awesome beer festivals in San Diego and since we have some of the most talented brewers in the world it is never boring to see the same cast of characters week after week.

    However, it is always exciting to see something different and that's exactly what Sierra Nevada delivered with their Beer Camp Across America tour this summer.

  • Happy National Tequila Day!

    Not sure about your plans, but we're celebrating with some delicious margaritas and tequila cocktail recipes that we've rounded up from around the world. Which is your favorite?

  • As you know, I LOVE daiquiris and so when the folks at Cruzan sent over a recipe and some rum I just had to try it out I just had to give it a whirl!

  • If you are old enough to legally enjoy Jägermeister then you probably are already familiar with the most common way to enjoy the spirit - as an ice cold shot. I thought it was time to explore some other great drink recipes to celebrate the herbal liqueur, so the folks at Jägermeister helped me put together this list of Jägermeister cocktail recipes.  

  • How much you know about Jägermeister's history and origins? Let's find out more about this unique spirit...

  • Norwegian Cruise Line has been giving Carnival a run for its money recently with two great new ships and now a series of drinks based on their favorite destinations around the world. Created by Gabriel Orta of the Miami-based Bar Lab Cocktails this new series features unique drinks on different ships and highlights fresh local ingredients.

  • Spring is here and that means it's time to get your drink on. Our friends over at 2 Gingers, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden sent over their picks for some great spring cocktail recipes.

    Skinny Ginger

    SKINNY GINGER

    2 parts 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey Diet Ginger Ale Lemon Wedge Lime Wedge

    METHOD: Pour the 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey into a pint glass with ice. Top with diet ginger ale, followed by a wedge of a lemon and lime.

    Sweet and Spicy Tea Recipe

    KNOB CREEK® SWEET & SPICY TEA

    by Zac Matthews, Mixologist

    INGREDIENTS: - 2 parts Knob Creek® Rye - 2 parts Southern Style “Sweet Tea” (*recipe below) - ¼ part Fresh Lemon Juice - 1 part Prosecco

    METHOD: 1. Combine Knob Creek® Rye, sweet tea and lemon juice into a shaker with ice. 2. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. 3. Float Prosecco on top to finish. 4. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

    *Southern Style "Sweet Tea"

    INGREDIENTS: - Black Tea - Simple Syrup

    METHOD: 1. Prepare a fresh pot of black tea per instructions. 2. Combine freshly brewed black tea with an ample amount of simple syrup (to taste).

    Basil Hayden's Bluegrass Punch

    Basil Hayden’s Bluegrass Punch

    INGREDIENTS:

    4 parts Basil Hayden's ® Bourbon

    8 parts Blueberry Juice

    8 parts Passion Fruit Juice Sparkling Wine or Club Soda

    Fresh Mint Leaves

     

    METHOD: 1. Add Basil Hayden's, blueberry juice, passion fruit juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake. 2. Top with club soda or sparkling wine Blueberry Ice Ring Freeze one bag of frozen blueberries with water in a bunt cake pan. Dip frozen ring into hot water for a few seconds to unmold. Place in punch bowl with blueberry side up.

  • Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

    Sure you can grab some green beer and corned beef but let's celebrate differently this year with some Irish whiskey and drinks inspired by our friends from the Emerald Isle!

    It really doesn't matter if your beverage of choice includes Guinness, Irish Whiskey, or even Vodka, the following are a few unique Irish cocktail recipes to help you enjoy St. Patrick's Day in style.

  • laphroaig-scots-ciderIs the fall chill catching up with you? Why not try this recipe that Laphroaig sent us for a Scot’s Cider.

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 part Laphroaig® 10-Year-Old Scotch Whisky
    2. ½ part DeKuyper® Mixologist Series Ginger Liqueur
    3. 3 parts Hot Apple Cider

    Method:

    Build in a pre-heated coffee mug.

    Garnish with a lemon wedge studded with cloves and a dash of fresh ground cinnamon

  • header-image-beer-mug There is certainly no shortage of bars offering happy hour specials but we recently were invited to check out Islands's NFL Happy Hour in La Jolla / San Diego. In addition to happy hour classics like wings and fries we were treated to a wide selection of Hawaiian themed treats that matched the restaurant's theme.

    For those of you who haven't visited an Islands restaurant, it is a surf / Hawaiian themed burger joint that 50 locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.

  • beer-festival-headerWant a chance to win one of two prize packages - 2 tickets to the California Beer Festival on Sept. 7 in San Dimas?

    Keep reading for more information on how to win...

  • kilbeggan-secret-sour-headerAre you ready to celebrate National Whiskey Sour Day on Aug. 25?

    Our goal is to help you be as prepared as possible, so here is a recipe from Kilbeggan, created by Joaquin Simo, Head Mixologist at Pouring Ribbons of NYC.

    Ready to start celebrating?

  • While many people associate New Orleans with some of the best parties in the world, the other "Must Do" in New Orleans is brunch. While there is no shortage of great places where you can gorge on delicious traditional brunch foods, I would like to heartily recommend stopping by Court of Two Sisters.

    Between the gorgeous courtyard, tons of great food (traditional breakfast as well as cajun and southern staples like crawfish, jambalaya, and collards), there is something for everyone! Plus they have some of the friendliest staff in town.

  • header-imageThere is a new player in the late-night - after drinking - meal scene and it is darn good!

    Well, actually Steak n Shake has been around for a while now but honestly, I never considered it over iHop or a burrito stand but that has absolutely changed!

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