Located on the 101, within sniffing distance of the shore, Open House features practically every imaginable oceanic edible — including vegetables. So it was that this al fresco eatery’s general manager Matt Handy went deep to find a cocktail that complemented Open House’s love affair with the sea.
345 South Highway 101, Encinitas
And from the depths came…the Seaweed Margarita.
Working with a team of chefs experienced in the mysteries of poke, a kind of Hawaiian sushi, Handy says that the drifted in behind the bar on a tide of culinary inspiration.
“We were doing the Asian flavors with poke and wanted to do a fun cocktail that resembled the beach, the water, and things of that nature,” he says. “The chef was playing around with seaweed for some poke dishes and I wondered how that would taste in a margarita. Everyone thought at first it was weird and a little bit out there, but I figured if people like sushi and poke and saltwater, they’d like a cocktail like that.”
Handy says the most difficult ingredient in the cocktail to get right was the vegetation from Neptune’s garden.
“We didn’t want the seaweed to be overbearing in the drink,” he says. “But we did it as a team effort. We made the first round and tasted it, and then tried it a couple more times and we got it right pretty quick.”
True to the Open House policy of treating its diners to a seaside ambiance, Handy says, “It tastes a little like saltwater. It reminds me of what it tastes like when I go surfing and crash headfirst into the water — with a little bit of a tequila kick, too. But mostly it’s sweet seawater. It’s not brackish, but fresh tasting, thanks to the seaweed and limes. There is no artificial taste to it.”
- .25 oz. lemon juice
- .25 oz. lime juice
- .25 oz. Water
- .25 oz. simple syrup
- 1.5 oz. Tequila
- .75 oz. Triple Sec
- 1 splash orange juice
- 1 Tsp. nori seaweed
- 1 Tsp. ogo seaweed
- ½ Tsp. salt
In shaker tin with ice, pour ingredients, shake, strain into bucket glass with ice, and garnish with lime wedge.