901 Fourth Avenue, Downtown San Diego
The owner of The Commons Bar, Jake Pescatello, does more than deliver the rent and sign the paychecks of his employees. Starting in his father’s modest East Coast restaurant empire as a dishwasher and busboy, he’s always had a hand in what he calls “selling fun” in the hospitality business.
That salesmanship includes coming up with cocktails that he considers, in one of his preferred words, “killer.”
In a good way, of course.
Take for example the creation he calls the Skinny Scorpion – riffing on the “Skinny Margarita” craze. Pescatello says he developed the drink with one eye cocked toward synergizing his cocktail and food menu and the other fixed on keeping the drink’s promise as one of the bar’s featured “Uncommon Cocktails.”
“We saw that there was a demand in San Diego for something like the Skinny Scorpion,” he says, explaining its genesis in terms of demographics and market trends.
But that’s Pescatello speaking through his business owner hat — which he readily doffs and, trading it for a mixologist’s, that’s when he really gets down to business, describing the heart of his creation — the Espolon Blanco distilled in the Jalisco highlands.
“You’re going to get all the typical notes associated with blanco tequila,” he says, “but because of the high altitude of where it’s made it’s got a much smoother finish than most people are used to.”
Waxing eloquent on the profile and nuances of his Skinny Scorpion, Pescatello says, the tequila works as a bright line between the cocktail’s disarming first impression and the sudden strike of its spicy tail.
“What’s going to hit the palate first is the sweetness of the lime juice and agave nectar,” he says, “and then you’re going to get the bright smoothness of the tequila and then a little bit of bite at the end with the fresh jalapeno. That’s how it tastes. Sweet, bright and bite.”
HOW TO MAKE IT:
In a cocktail shaker, muddle:
- • 1 oz. agave nectar
- • 1/4 oz. freshly squeezed Lime Juice
- • 3 slices fresh jalapenos
- • 5 fresh cilantro flowers
Add ice to the shaker and pour:
- • 1.5 oz. Espolon Blanco Tequila
Shake vigorously, pour into a low ball with ice and top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with jalapeno wheel, lime slice and cilantro flower, and brace for the whiplash.