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Wild Turkey bourbon and Elysian Night Owl flock together in his Birds of a Feather

Barleymash’s whiskey-beer cocktail is a unique offering for the fall season

Ramon Torres
Ramon Torres
Ramon Torres
  • Ramon Torres
  • Barleymash
  • 600 Fifth Avenue #6916
  • Gaslamp

It’s a summerlike day in the city, but my desire for festive autumnal libations rages on. Thankfully, I’m not alone in wanting to soak up the season’s specialty flavors: Barleymash bartender Ramon Torres happily serves me his bar’s Birds of a Feather. “It’s a pumpkin spice cocktail with a whiskey base, finished with beer,” he says. “Being in San Diego, where we don’t necessarily have fall seasons, I wanted to do something that’s like ‘fall in a glass.’”

He explains that part of his motivation was to create a seasonally-inspired cocktail that would be approachable on two sides. “For someone who’s not going to opt for a pumpkin cocktail, you have the whiskey, the beer. Then, for someone who wouldn’t go for a whiskey cocktail, since there’s pumpkin in it, they’ll be like, ‘Ok, this might intrigue me.’” Torres tacks this bit on as well: “And I kind of wanted to meld two of the things we do here, which is an extensive whiskey list and a beer program.”

Though he initially set out to make a fall-style whiskey sour, “those harsher [lemon] citrus tones weren’t really working. So, I went with a softer citrus with the orange.” He continues describing the full flavor palate, “It’s not like a typical ‘pumpkin’ — you get spices: the clove, the star anise, the cinnamon, and nutmeg. We do a house-made pumpkin spice honey syrup, and that enhances the notes of the whiskey. A little bit of angostura bitters add to the spice.”

As for the name, it turns out that Wild Turkey bourbon and Elysian Night Owl pumpkin ale are what flock together in his Birds of a Feather. Bourbon brings in “vanilla, butterscotch notes, which most whiskeys have, but you still get that strong whiskey backbone to it. But [the drink] is not overly whiskey-forward, it’s got a balance,” says Torres. Pumpkin ale adds another level of complexity to the finish. “You get the pumpkin, but you still get that dry, little bit of hop at the end. It’s more of the pumpkin essence — the flavor without being as sweet.” Plus, he jokes, “More pumpkin, why not?”

“Pumpkin pie is my treat for the holidays,” shares Torres. “I’m not a big dessert person, but that one in particular was always nostalgic… kind of reminded me of the season. But I didn’t want to go with something that was overly sweet or not approachable, so that’s why I went with the whiskey and beer to round it out.”

Compared to other pumpkin spice drinks, he concludes, this whiskey-beer cocktail is a unique offering for the fall season. “We tried to delve into those two different areas to challenge what you would typically want to order, or expect.”

Birds of a Feather
  • Barleymash’s
  • Birds of a feather
  • 1 oz. Wild Turkey bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. pumpkin honey syrup
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • Mix ingredients, shake and strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale. Garnish with orange peel.
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Ramon Torres
Ramon Torres
Ramon Torres
  • Ramon Torres
  • Barleymash
  • 600 Fifth Avenue #6916
  • Gaslamp

It’s a summerlike day in the city, but my desire for festive autumnal libations rages on. Thankfully, I’m not alone in wanting to soak up the season’s specialty flavors: Barleymash bartender Ramon Torres happily serves me his bar’s Birds of a Feather. “It’s a pumpkin spice cocktail with a whiskey base, finished with beer,” he says. “Being in San Diego, where we don’t necessarily have fall seasons, I wanted to do something that’s like ‘fall in a glass.’”

He explains that part of his motivation was to create a seasonally-inspired cocktail that would be approachable on two sides. “For someone who’s not going to opt for a pumpkin cocktail, you have the whiskey, the beer. Then, for someone who wouldn’t go for a whiskey cocktail, since there’s pumpkin in it, they’ll be like, ‘Ok, this might intrigue me.’” Torres tacks this bit on as well: “And I kind of wanted to meld two of the things we do here, which is an extensive whiskey list and a beer program.”

Though he initially set out to make a fall-style whiskey sour, “those harsher [lemon] citrus tones weren’t really working. So, I went with a softer citrus with the orange.” He continues describing the full flavor palate, “It’s not like a typical ‘pumpkin’ — you get spices: the clove, the star anise, the cinnamon, and nutmeg. We do a house-made pumpkin spice honey syrup, and that enhances the notes of the whiskey. A little bit of angostura bitters add to the spice.”

As for the name, it turns out that Wild Turkey bourbon and Elysian Night Owl pumpkin ale are what flock together in his Birds of a Feather. Bourbon brings in “vanilla, butterscotch notes, which most whiskeys have, but you still get that strong whiskey backbone to it. But [the drink] is not overly whiskey-forward, it’s got a balance,” says Torres. Pumpkin ale adds another level of complexity to the finish. “You get the pumpkin, but you still get that dry, little bit of hop at the end. It’s more of the pumpkin essence — the flavor without being as sweet.” Plus, he jokes, “More pumpkin, why not?”

“Pumpkin pie is my treat for the holidays,” shares Torres. “I’m not a big dessert person, but that one in particular was always nostalgic… kind of reminded me of the season. But I didn’t want to go with something that was overly sweet or not approachable, so that’s why I went with the whiskey and beer to round it out.”

Compared to other pumpkin spice drinks, he concludes, this whiskey-beer cocktail is a unique offering for the fall season. “We tried to delve into those two different areas to challenge what you would typically want to order, or expect.”

Birds of a Feather
  • Barleymash’s
  • Birds of a feather
  • 1 oz. Wild Turkey bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. pumpkin honey syrup
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • Mix ingredients, shake and strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale. Garnish with orange peel.
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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