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A drink named for Valentina Ramírez, a soldier in the Mexican revolution

A play on the classic Paloma

La Valentina
La Valentina
Dakota Godden

Bare brick walls, faux fur bear skin rugs, green velvet booths, copper-painted bar top... I’m stealing glances at the scenery of soon-to-be-opened Madam Bonnie’s while I chat with all-smiles bar manager Dakota Godden. “Madam Bonnie was an actual person — Bertha White — and she was the proprietor of a brothel that was in this building before,” back when the Gaslamp Quarter used to be a genuine red-light district. “So we’re paying homage to her, in naming it after her.” That history is how Godden got started developing a cocktail menu based on iconic women.

La Valentina he named for Valentina Ramírez, a soldier in the Mexican revolution, “before women were actually allowed to fight in it. There was this song that went around during the time that was called ‘Adelita,’ and it’s basically about a woman soldier. But no one really knows who it’s about, so my suspicion is it’s about her,” muses Godden. It was kismet when he later found a brand of tequila named Adelita to tie it all together. “I tried to pair stuff like that throughout the menu, to make it related and feature the women, and actually pay homage to what they did at the same time.”

Place

Madam Bonnie’s

411 Market Street, San Diego

The drink is a play on the classic Paloma. “I replaced the agave with a red bell pepper syrup that I made, and it gives it this vegetal background,” he explains. “And then I put spicy bitters in it as well, just to bring out the floralness and give a little spice in the background, too.” He continues, “There’s vegetal and floral notes within tequila, so I was like, ‘Ok how can I get that outside of [the tequila] and get this freshness?’ And my first go-around, I did cucumber and serrano peppers — it was awful,” he says with a laugh. “Then I went back to the drawing board and I just had this weird idea about red bell pepper.” That led him to create a luminous red bell pepper syrup which gives the concoction its color, as well as a twist in the flavor department. “It’s this cooling, fresh background, but it’s not like cucumber, where it’s an overwhelming flavor.”

Godden considers La Valentina one of his favorites. “I love agave spirits. And I think a lot of the time with cocktailing especially, you’ll kind of mask flavors with the things you put in it. We prefer to try and accentuate them, elevate the flavors you’re already gonna get.”

To conclude, he happily shares a pro bartending tip for making the cocktail: “Put soda into the shaker tin after you’re done shaking it, when you take the cap off. And then pour that out, and it will evenly distribute the soda water throughout the entire drink.”

Madam Bonnies
  • Madam Bonnie’s
  • La Valentina
  • ¾ oz. lime juice
  • ¾ oz. grapefruit juice
  • ¾ oz. red bell pepper syrups
  • 1.5 oz. tequila
  • 2 dashes of spicy bitters
  • Soda water top-off
  • Mix ingredients in a shaker tin with ice and shake. Add soda water to the shaker and then strain into a Collins glass.
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La Valentina
La Valentina
Dakota Godden

Bare brick walls, faux fur bear skin rugs, green velvet booths, copper-painted bar top... I’m stealing glances at the scenery of soon-to-be-opened Madam Bonnie’s while I chat with all-smiles bar manager Dakota Godden. “Madam Bonnie was an actual person — Bertha White — and she was the proprietor of a brothel that was in this building before,” back when the Gaslamp Quarter used to be a genuine red-light district. “So we’re paying homage to her, in naming it after her.” That history is how Godden got started developing a cocktail menu based on iconic women.

La Valentina he named for Valentina Ramírez, a soldier in the Mexican revolution, “before women were actually allowed to fight in it. There was this song that went around during the time that was called ‘Adelita,’ and it’s basically about a woman soldier. But no one really knows who it’s about, so my suspicion is it’s about her,” muses Godden. It was kismet when he later found a brand of tequila named Adelita to tie it all together. “I tried to pair stuff like that throughout the menu, to make it related and feature the women, and actually pay homage to what they did at the same time.”

Place

Madam Bonnie’s

411 Market Street, San Diego

The drink is a play on the classic Paloma. “I replaced the agave with a red bell pepper syrup that I made, and it gives it this vegetal background,” he explains. “And then I put spicy bitters in it as well, just to bring out the floralness and give a little spice in the background, too.” He continues, “There’s vegetal and floral notes within tequila, so I was like, ‘Ok how can I get that outside of [the tequila] and get this freshness?’ And my first go-around, I did cucumber and serrano peppers — it was awful,” he says with a laugh. “Then I went back to the drawing board and I just had this weird idea about red bell pepper.” That led him to create a luminous red bell pepper syrup which gives the concoction its color, as well as a twist in the flavor department. “It’s this cooling, fresh background, but it’s not like cucumber, where it’s an overwhelming flavor.”

Godden considers La Valentina one of his favorites. “I love agave spirits. And I think a lot of the time with cocktailing especially, you’ll kind of mask flavors with the things you put in it. We prefer to try and accentuate them, elevate the flavors you’re already gonna get.”

To conclude, he happily shares a pro bartending tip for making the cocktail: “Put soda into the shaker tin after you’re done shaking it, when you take the cap off. And then pour that out, and it will evenly distribute the soda water throughout the entire drink.”

Madam Bonnies
  • Madam Bonnie’s
  • La Valentina
  • ¾ oz. lime juice
  • ¾ oz. grapefruit juice
  • ¾ oz. red bell pepper syrups
  • 1.5 oz. tequila
  • 2 dashes of spicy bitters
  • Soda water top-off
  • Mix ingredients in a shaker tin with ice and shake. Add soda water to the shaker and then strain into a Collins glass.
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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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