334 7th Avenue, Downtown San Diego
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
As the political season heats up, Block 16 Union & Spirits manager Johnny Leal is holding fast to the party line.
“A lot of the stuff we do at the Block,” he tells me, “is more about the everyday person and the party and less about the prestige of it all…. You don’t have to have the big bottle on the table, and you can have fun with your friends by doing it a different way. It keeps it more about the party and less about, ‘Look at me and the bottle I got!’ or ‘Look at how many bottles I got!’”
Block 16’s drink menu gives every party a chance to embrace their favorite beverage pairings.
“We’re trying to do something a little more fun, instead of the stereotypical bottle service or a specialty drink menu,” Leal says.
For instance, one of the pairings, the Modern Broker, matches a bottle of J. Roget with a vodka (well brand) and Red Bull.
“Before the economy took a dump on us, when you came downtown, you had all these brokers selling mortgages, and they had good money at the time,” he says. “The Modern Broker is a play on the fact that these brokers were getting bottles of Cristal and drinking Grey Goose and Red Bull. It was high-end stuff…. So it was a fun take on changing fortunes.”
For the best sense of complementarity between running mates, Leal says, Block 16’s Junior Exec is a popular favorite.
“It’s for someone who’s a little more sophisticated drinker,” he says. “It’s not about getting wasted but about having a quality liquor with a quality beer to wash it down.”
Kitchen Proof: A sort of deconstructed Boiler Maker, the Junior Exec capitalizes on the bourbon’s sweet and bite blunting the skunk in the Heineken and lending a hand to the Corona’s lime.
How to Make It
- 2 ¼ oz. Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey
- 1 16 oz. bottle of Heineken/Corona/Stella Artois
Pour bourbon into Old Fashioned glass filled with ice, pour beer into appropriate glassware, sit back, sip whiskey, and beer at will — and don’t forget to give yourself a raise.