2236 Fern Street, San Diego
With 26 years of bartending experience under his belt — not to mention punching his card as a cocktail waiter and microbrewer — Whistle Stop Bar’s weekend bartender Justin Grey has learned to be versatile. He’s also pulled a few stints as an emergency medical technician (EMT). On occasion, these two occupations meet as one at Whistle Stop, usually after a female patron comes hobbling off the dance floor, a bare foot bleeding from a shard of broken beer bottle. “Keep your shoes on, ladies!” he impatiently intones, reciting for me the warning he’ll deliver to the bar after he’s administered equal parts bandage and badinage to some luckless maiden. Given his versatility, then, it should be no surprise that Grey has the same sort of creative agility when it comes to cocktails. One night not long ago, some sisters stopped in looking for a shot of something new. “I do a lot of shots for the ladies,” he tells me. “So, I make up a lot of off-the-cuff stuff.” On this particular night, he unleashed on them the Slippery Little Bitch. As usual, its pinkness makes it a feminine favorite. But if the gals come for the color, he hints, they stay — and come back — for the taste. “The Canton’s ginger for sure gives it its punch,” Grey says, “and it has a fruitiness from the orange vodka and a brightness from the cranberry. The soda water gives it a little effervescence and a lightness to break the sweetness.”
Kitchen Proof: The fact that Canton (a ginger-infused cognac liqueur) tastes like nothing else only adds to the luster of Grey’s concoction. The ginger announces itself with trumpets but soon wades into a short and sweet conversation with the vodka until the whole experience leaves nothing but a good taste in your mouth.
In a cocktail shaker full of ice, pour:
- 1 part Domaine de Canton
- 2 parts Stolichnaya Orange vodka
- One splash of cranberry juice
- One splash of soda water
Shake well and pour into either a rocks glass ungarnished or a martini glass with lime wedge garnish, place your ear next to a subwoofer at full crank, and consume.