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619 Spirits North Park’s Blood of the Scorpion: that kick of spice

The Trinidad Scorpion Pepper is one of the hottest peppers out there

Blood of the Scorpion
Blood of the Scorpion
  • Justin Greenwood
  • 619 Spirits North Park
  • 3015 Lincoln Avenue
  • North Park

A pretty candy-red cocktail adorned with a sprig of green, the Blood of the Scorpion comes served with a warning. “It’s based with our Scorpion Vodka we make here in-house at 619,” says Justin Greenwood. “We naturally infuse everything here into our vodkas. It’s infused with scorpion peppers — which a lot of people don’t realize is one of the hottest peppers out there. And it’s phenomenal!” he certifies. “It has a lot of pepper flavor along with the heat, so it’s a really nice vodka to go with many things, but especially this cocktail. We have it with the blood orange juice that we make in-house along with the grapefruit juice, then we top it with some thyme. So it has the aromatics of the thyme when you go in to drink, and then it’s got that citrus and bitterness where the grapefruit and the blood orange come together.” But lest we forget, “That kick of spice definitely packs a punch!”

Place

619 Spirits North Park

3015 Lincoln Ave, San Diego

He elaborates on the house-distilled Scorpion Vodka. “We naturally infuse it before we cut it to 40%. It’s being infused at a higher alcohol content, so it’s extracting more of the flavor. There’s no artificial anything. It’s a very smooth — and dangerous — vodka, if you will.” The infusion process involves “not as many [peppers] as you would think for the punch that the scorpion pepper vodka has. It’s not for the weak,” he asserts. “And because we don’t put any simple syrup in the cocktail, it doesn’t really have any sugar or anything to counteract. It just has more acidity to make it even hotter.”

To reference the Scoville scale, the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper ranks near the tip-top at about 1.2 million SHU. “It’s a deep red color, about the size of a habañero. But yeah, I… would not even touch one,” he says, evoking nervous laughter between us, “No thanks.” Still, the cocktail offers something to the taste buds besides spice. “You’re getting the actual pepper flavor, it’s not just hot.”

Though Greenwood hasn’t seen anyone brought to fiery tears, many palates have been put to the test. “A lot of people that know this place, and know about that drink, they like to order it for their new friends and not tell them what it is,” he says, chuckling at the memory of those prankster regulars. “And they’ll kind of give you a look like, ‘Don’t say anything.’ That’s always a treat to be a part of!”

  • 619 Spirits North Park’s
  • Blood of the Scorpion
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. blood orange juice
  • 2 oz. 619 Scorpion Vodka
  • Mix ingredients in a shaker and pour over ice. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
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Blood of the Scorpion
Blood of the Scorpion
  • Justin Greenwood
  • 619 Spirits North Park
  • 3015 Lincoln Avenue
  • North Park

A pretty candy-red cocktail adorned with a sprig of green, the Blood of the Scorpion comes served with a warning. “It’s based with our Scorpion Vodka we make here in-house at 619,” says Justin Greenwood. “We naturally infuse everything here into our vodkas. It’s infused with scorpion peppers — which a lot of people don’t realize is one of the hottest peppers out there. And it’s phenomenal!” he certifies. “It has a lot of pepper flavor along with the heat, so it’s a really nice vodka to go with many things, but especially this cocktail. We have it with the blood orange juice that we make in-house along with the grapefruit juice, then we top it with some thyme. So it has the aromatics of the thyme when you go in to drink, and then it’s got that citrus and bitterness where the grapefruit and the blood orange come together.” But lest we forget, “That kick of spice definitely packs a punch!”

Place

619 Spirits North Park

3015 Lincoln Ave, San Diego

He elaborates on the house-distilled Scorpion Vodka. “We naturally infuse it before we cut it to 40%. It’s being infused at a higher alcohol content, so it’s extracting more of the flavor. There’s no artificial anything. It’s a very smooth — and dangerous — vodka, if you will.” The infusion process involves “not as many [peppers] as you would think for the punch that the scorpion pepper vodka has. It’s not for the weak,” he asserts. “And because we don’t put any simple syrup in the cocktail, it doesn’t really have any sugar or anything to counteract. It just has more acidity to make it even hotter.”

To reference the Scoville scale, the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper ranks near the tip-top at about 1.2 million SHU. “It’s a deep red color, about the size of a habañero. But yeah, I… would not even touch one,” he says, evoking nervous laughter between us, “No thanks.” Still, the cocktail offers something to the taste buds besides spice. “You’re getting the actual pepper flavor, it’s not just hot.”

Though Greenwood hasn’t seen anyone brought to fiery tears, many palates have been put to the test. “A lot of people that know this place, and know about that drink, they like to order it for their new friends and not tell them what it is,” he says, chuckling at the memory of those prankster regulars. “And they’ll kind of give you a look like, ‘Don’t say anything.’ That’s always a treat to be a part of!”

  • 619 Spirits North Park’s
  • Blood of the Scorpion
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. blood orange juice
  • 2 oz. 619 Scorpion Vodka
  • Mix ingredients in a shaker and pour over ice. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
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