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Herb & Sea’s Mezcal & Spice: seasonal & fresh

The citrus inspiration came from the chef’s special scallop crudo with blood orange.

Mezcal & Spice
Mezcal & Spice
Laz Jiminez

The cool, crisp air inside Herb & Sea restaurant rescues me from a warm afternoon in downtown Encinitas. Behind the bar, Laz Jiminez greets me with a spirited smile before recommending the Mezcal & Spice cocktail. “It’s a play on a Lion’s Tail; we just subbed out the bourbon for mezcal.”

Place

Herb & Sea

131 West D Street, Encinitas

He starts describing components of the cocktail as he mixes. “I use Verde Momento mezcal, so it’s not going to be so smoky, and not so forward. It’s a little smoother, has a lot more vegetal notes. It’s not so aggressive like other mezcals, where you get this smoke bomb. You still get it, you still taste the mezcal, it’s not hiding or anything… but there’s supporting actors that are in there, and they make a beautiful drink.” He continues, “And with Drambuie being Scotch that has a little honey, and herbs and spices in it. They dance very well together, because they’re along the same lines — they both have the spiciness, the smokiness of the spirits.”

Then he sets before me a pinky-orangey drink served in a chilled coupe glass, garnished with a single dehydrated blood orange round. “The blood orange is nice and refreshing, and comes out with this beautiful color. We make a syrup with it, with a little bit more sugar so it’s gummier.” A splash of lime juice and dash of angostura bitters makes everything nice. “It’s very approachable, but it still has a punch to it.”

The citrus inspiration came from the chef’s special scallop crudo with blood orange. “So I said, ‘Hey can I steal some?’ And we started playing around with the mezcal.” When asked if his drink paired well, he confidently replies, “Yes it did!” and then gently breaks the news that I’ve missed my chance to test his claim. “They’re constantly switching [the food menu]. Most of the time we try to [match our cocktails to it], but this one was too delicious to take off.”

Jiminez believes it’s that ephemeral quality that sets Herb & Sea’s cocktails apart. “It’s nice because everything for [the kitchen] is seasonal, and so it’s fresh. You get so many different ingredients, you get to try a lot of things,” he explains. “This one will probably be on the menu another couple weeks, and then it’s on to the next!”

What’s does next look like? Jiminez is just now finalizing his newest cocktail, which will use an infused vodka. “I want to try to feature the snap pea that’s in season. It’ll be a pretty green color, too. I’m excited!”

  • Herb & Sea’s
  • Mezcal & Spice
  • 2 oz mezcal
  • ½ oz Drambuie
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • ¼ oz blood orange syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain into coupe glass and garnish with a dehydrated blood orange round.
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Mezcal & Spice
Mezcal & Spice
Laz Jiminez

The cool, crisp air inside Herb & Sea restaurant rescues me from a warm afternoon in downtown Encinitas. Behind the bar, Laz Jiminez greets me with a spirited smile before recommending the Mezcal & Spice cocktail. “It’s a play on a Lion’s Tail; we just subbed out the bourbon for mezcal.”

Place

Herb & Sea

131 West D Street, Encinitas

He starts describing components of the cocktail as he mixes. “I use Verde Momento mezcal, so it’s not going to be so smoky, and not so forward. It’s a little smoother, has a lot more vegetal notes. It’s not so aggressive like other mezcals, where you get this smoke bomb. You still get it, you still taste the mezcal, it’s not hiding or anything… but there’s supporting actors that are in there, and they make a beautiful drink.” He continues, “And with Drambuie being Scotch that has a little honey, and herbs and spices in it. They dance very well together, because they’re along the same lines — they both have the spiciness, the smokiness of the spirits.”

Then he sets before me a pinky-orangey drink served in a chilled coupe glass, garnished with a single dehydrated blood orange round. “The blood orange is nice and refreshing, and comes out with this beautiful color. We make a syrup with it, with a little bit more sugar so it’s gummier.” A splash of lime juice and dash of angostura bitters makes everything nice. “It’s very approachable, but it still has a punch to it.”

The citrus inspiration came from the chef’s special scallop crudo with blood orange. “So I said, ‘Hey can I steal some?’ And we started playing around with the mezcal.” When asked if his drink paired well, he confidently replies, “Yes it did!” and then gently breaks the news that I’ve missed my chance to test his claim. “They’re constantly switching [the food menu]. Most of the time we try to [match our cocktails to it], but this one was too delicious to take off.”

Jiminez believes it’s that ephemeral quality that sets Herb & Sea’s cocktails apart. “It’s nice because everything for [the kitchen] is seasonal, and so it’s fresh. You get so many different ingredients, you get to try a lot of things,” he explains. “This one will probably be on the menu another couple weeks, and then it’s on to the next!”

What’s does next look like? Jiminez is just now finalizing his newest cocktail, which will use an infused vodka. “I want to try to feature the snap pea that’s in season. It’ll be a pretty green color, too. I’m excited!”

  • Herb & Sea’s
  • Mezcal & Spice
  • 2 oz mezcal
  • ½ oz Drambuie
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • ¼ oz blood orange syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain into coupe glass and garnish with a dehydrated blood orange round.
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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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