Maryjane’s Champagne Punch
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Hard Rock Hotel, 207 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego

Besides 20 years of mixing cocktails — the last five at Maryjane’s — Marcos Villalobos’s résumé includes his history of working for human resources in the corporate world.

“In HR I would have people come in and listen to their issues,” he says. “It’s the same behind the bar; people want to be talked to and listened to.”

After trading ballpoint and clipboard for swizzle stick and jigger, he still sees it as his business to help customers realize their potential.

And when it comes to potential, he says, Maryjane’s Champagne Punch is full of it.

Marcos Villalobos

Marcos Villalobos

“We do a really good breakfast and brunch here, and we do a lot of mimosas,” he says, explaining how the cocktail was developed. “We were looking for a good breakfast drink, to have a little option, rather than just champagne and orange juice. Our punch is a champagne drink with a little more kick.”

The punch’s potency is attributed to the rum and brandy, Villalobos says.

“It’s a nice combination between having a hard liquor and wine. It’s one of those drinks that you can drink and not taste the alcohol, and it tastes a little on the lighter side, but it definitely brings a punch to it.”

(“Sorry!” he quickly says, apologizing for the pun…)

“Most people that drink it like it because it’s not a harsh-flavored drink,” he adds, “especially in the morning. You want something to wake you up or the hair-of-the-dog–type drink, but it doesn’t remind you of the alcohol you had the night before.”

Kitchen Proof: The rum and brandy prove their worth as team players in a tasty synergy with the bubbly and fruity.

How To Make It:

In a margarita glass or large rocks glass, pour:

¾ oz. brandy

¾ oz. white rum

Fill with equal parts chilled champagne and chilled pineapple juice, top with a heavy splash of Grenadine, garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

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