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Zama’s Zama-Tini: a pomegranate martini mixed with tamarind memories

Japan meets South America, with a little bit of Tulum

Zama-Tini
Zama-Tini
Gerry

Bienvenida a la selva,” reads a neon green sign inside one of Gaslamp’s newest restaurants, Zama. Greeting me with an exuberant smile, Bar Manager Gerry Bedolla explains, “That’s our theme here, our vibe. Our concept here is like Japan meets South America, with a little bit of Tulum. So once you come in, we want you to feel like you’re in the jungle — in the selva.” On that note, he adds, “a lot of my cocktails feature either a Japanese fusion or some sort of spice from South America.”

In my experience, you can’t go wrong with anything named after the house, so I opt for the Zama-Tini. “The martini is a fun cocktail,” says Bedolla. "You’re gonna get sweet and tart elements, some good citrus elements, and a nice pomegranate sweetness right at the finish — to where you’re going to want another one, and another one…”

Place

Zama San Diego

467 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Adapted from a former recipe, “it started off as a traditional pomegranate martini. I was like, ‘How can we modify this to make it something a little more elaborate, more flavorful?’” He started off by swapping vodka for tamarindo mezcal produced by Divino Maguey — one of Bedolla’s personal favorites. “If you grew up in Mexico or you grew up in a Hispanic family, you’ve probably eaten tamarind candies your whole childhood. The first time I had this [mezcal], it reminded me of all my childhood memories.” That bit of extra sugar content, he says, also helps make it smooth and approachable. “When you mix it in a cocktail and it’s balanced, you should be able to get that subtle smoke in there, but you should be able to get all of the other flavors as well.”

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Sponsored

A bright red dust swirls around a pristine white head of foam on the tarty pink drink. “And now we’re doing this elderflower foam — I didn’t want it to be all sugar, so that added a really nice sour element to it.” It’s a blend of citrus, egg whites and elderflower liqueur, with a tad of sugar to balance everything out. “And we do a nice dehydrated hibiscus powder on top.”

Eventually, Bedolla brought in the big guns, professionally known as iSi canisters, to help expedite things. “My biggest pain was doing a 30 second shake on [the original] cocktails,” he recalls. “If you don’t have one of those fancy whipped cream makers, you can still make it easily, you just gotta work out your biceps a little bit.”

Zama
  • Zama’s
  • Zama-tini
  • 1.5 oz tamarind mezcal
  • 1 oz lemon
  • 1 oz pomegranate syrup
  • St Germaine foam
  • Hibiscus Powder
  • Mix ingredients in a shaker tin with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Add elderflower foam topping and dust with dehydrated hibiscus powder. Garnish with a dehydrated fruit round.
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Zama-Tini
Zama-Tini
Gerry

Bienvenida a la selva,” reads a neon green sign inside one of Gaslamp’s newest restaurants, Zama. Greeting me with an exuberant smile, Bar Manager Gerry Bedolla explains, “That’s our theme here, our vibe. Our concept here is like Japan meets South America, with a little bit of Tulum. So once you come in, we want you to feel like you’re in the jungle — in the selva.” On that note, he adds, “a lot of my cocktails feature either a Japanese fusion or some sort of spice from South America.”

In my experience, you can’t go wrong with anything named after the house, so I opt for the Zama-Tini. “The martini is a fun cocktail,” says Bedolla. "You’re gonna get sweet and tart elements, some good citrus elements, and a nice pomegranate sweetness right at the finish — to where you’re going to want another one, and another one…”

Place

Zama San Diego

467 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Adapted from a former recipe, “it started off as a traditional pomegranate martini. I was like, ‘How can we modify this to make it something a little more elaborate, more flavorful?’” He started off by swapping vodka for tamarindo mezcal produced by Divino Maguey — one of Bedolla’s personal favorites. “If you grew up in Mexico or you grew up in a Hispanic family, you’ve probably eaten tamarind candies your whole childhood. The first time I had this [mezcal], it reminded me of all my childhood memories.” That bit of extra sugar content, he says, also helps make it smooth and approachable. “When you mix it in a cocktail and it’s balanced, you should be able to get that subtle smoke in there, but you should be able to get all of the other flavors as well.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

A bright red dust swirls around a pristine white head of foam on the tarty pink drink. “And now we’re doing this elderflower foam — I didn’t want it to be all sugar, so that added a really nice sour element to it.” It’s a blend of citrus, egg whites and elderflower liqueur, with a tad of sugar to balance everything out. “And we do a nice dehydrated hibiscus powder on top.”

Eventually, Bedolla brought in the big guns, professionally known as iSi canisters, to help expedite things. “My biggest pain was doing a 30 second shake on [the original] cocktails,” he recalls. “If you don’t have one of those fancy whipped cream makers, you can still make it easily, you just gotta work out your biceps a little bit.”

Zama
  • Zama’s
  • Zama-tini
  • 1.5 oz tamarind mezcal
  • 1 oz lemon
  • 1 oz pomegranate syrup
  • St Germaine foam
  • Hibiscus Powder
  • Mix ingredients in a shaker tin with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Add elderflower foam topping and dust with dehydrated hibiscus powder. Garnish with a dehydrated fruit 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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