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Smoke & Guns: a cocktail standoff at Roseville Cozinha

Liberty Station fish-to-fork eatery hosts a showdown between some of San Diego's finest craft cocktail innovators.

Craft cocktails are on the rise in San Diego, and with the visionaries have come dozens of late-comers hoping to turn a quick buck off of what may or may not prove to be a passing fad.

To showcase the vanguard, Roseville Cozinha (2750 Dewey Rd #104 – Liberty Station) is pitting some of San Diego’s finest mixologists against each other in the Smoke & Guns Cocktail Standoff on Monday, May 27 from 6 to 9 p.m.

“San Diego’s craft cocktail movement displays an accelerated mindset with an eclectic interpretation of what a craft bar should be,” says Roseville Cozinha bar director and Medicine Show consultant Cervantes Magaña.

“There are a lot of bars using the term ‘craft bar.’ Some deserve the title while others fall flat on their faces in an attempt to capitalize on a milieu.”

Magaña notes that, as San Diego’s craft bar culture continues to establish itself, more and more forward-thinking bartenders are moving in from cities such as Dallas, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas to contribute to the vision.

“San Diego, although late out of the gate, has been rapidly gaining a lot of attention for its outside-the-box thinking,” Magaña says.

“I am really excited to see what the future holds for us.”

For a glimpse of what awaits, Smoke & Guns features a preview of Ryan Andrews’ (Rx Bitters) new line of tinctures, Joven Mezcal curated by Marco Antonio Ramos Monterrubio of Illegal Mezcal, and a preview of Magaña’s atavistic twist on the shrub cocktail, which will be available on Roseville’s summer menu.

“A shrub was essentially a collection of indigenous fruits, berries, sugar, and air born fermenters that convert fruits into vinegars and concentrate sugars,” Magaña says.

“These methods were utilized as a way to preserve fruit, as there was no refrigeration in the 1700s. One can only extrapolate the archaic use of shrubs; however, there is documentation of shrubs being mixed with tea, water, and in cocktails. I am particularly fond of the later. The shrub, unlike most citrus-based cocktails, replaces lime and lemon with an acidic vinegar found in a shrub-style fruit preserve. These shrubs - when melded with agricole, gin, brandy, or whiskey, along with herbs and sweeteners - generate a refreshing flavor profile that is all too often missing in craft bar programs.”

The standoff, which is one in a series of Spirited Cocktail Wars hosted by San Diego Spirits Festival founder Liz Edwards, will be judged by Magaña and fellow connoisseurs Leigh Russ of Craft & Commerce, Dante Rafael Concepcion Jr. of Cocktailored, Henry Preiss of HPS Epicurean, Eric Castro of Polite Provisions, and Frankie Thaheld of Snake Oil.

Contestants include:

• Daniel Palacios – Lion’s Share

• Heather Smith - Polite Provisions

• Gilbert Marquez – El Carmen (LA)

• Michael A. McAdory – Molecular Mixology Masters (LA)

• Lea Baffin – Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine

• Pedro Meglar Flores – Polite Provisions (to be confirmed)

• Camron Zibaie – Voyeur (to be confirmed)

• and more.

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Paella Toñico: past and present

Mother and daughter, Yolanda and Yolinda, are keeping the show going.

Craft cocktails are on the rise in San Diego, and with the visionaries have come dozens of late-comers hoping to turn a quick buck off of what may or may not prove to be a passing fad.

To showcase the vanguard, Roseville Cozinha (2750 Dewey Rd #104 – Liberty Station) is pitting some of San Diego’s finest mixologists against each other in the Smoke & Guns Cocktail Standoff on Monday, May 27 from 6 to 9 p.m.

“San Diego’s craft cocktail movement displays an accelerated mindset with an eclectic interpretation of what a craft bar should be,” says Roseville Cozinha bar director and Medicine Show consultant Cervantes Magaña.

“There are a lot of bars using the term ‘craft bar.’ Some deserve the title while others fall flat on their faces in an attempt to capitalize on a milieu.”

Magaña notes that, as San Diego’s craft bar culture continues to establish itself, more and more forward-thinking bartenders are moving in from cities such as Dallas, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas to contribute to the vision.

“San Diego, although late out of the gate, has been rapidly gaining a lot of attention for its outside-the-box thinking,” Magaña says.

“I am really excited to see what the future holds for us.”

For a glimpse of what awaits, Smoke & Guns features a preview of Ryan Andrews’ (Rx Bitters) new line of tinctures, Joven Mezcal curated by Marco Antonio Ramos Monterrubio of Illegal Mezcal, and a preview of Magaña’s atavistic twist on the shrub cocktail, which will be available on Roseville’s summer menu.

“A shrub was essentially a collection of indigenous fruits, berries, sugar, and air born fermenters that convert fruits into vinegars and concentrate sugars,” Magaña says.

“These methods were utilized as a way to preserve fruit, as there was no refrigeration in the 1700s. One can only extrapolate the archaic use of shrubs; however, there is documentation of shrubs being mixed with tea, water, and in cocktails. I am particularly fond of the later. The shrub, unlike most citrus-based cocktails, replaces lime and lemon with an acidic vinegar found in a shrub-style fruit preserve. These shrubs - when melded with agricole, gin, brandy, or whiskey, along with herbs and sweeteners - generate a refreshing flavor profile that is all too often missing in craft bar programs.”

The standoff, which is one in a series of Spirited Cocktail Wars hosted by San Diego Spirits Festival founder Liz Edwards, will be judged by Magaña and fellow connoisseurs Leigh Russ of Craft & Commerce, Dante Rafael Concepcion Jr. of Cocktailored, Henry Preiss of HPS Epicurean, Eric Castro of Polite Provisions, and Frankie Thaheld of Snake Oil.

Contestants include:

• Daniel Palacios – Lion’s Share

• Heather Smith - Polite Provisions

• Gilbert Marquez – El Carmen (LA)

• Michael A. McAdory – Molecular Mixology Masters (LA)

• Lea Baffin – Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine

• Pedro Meglar Flores – Polite Provisions (to be confirmed)

• Camron Zibaie – Voyeur (to be confirmed)

• and more.

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