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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Jeff Capps: How to make the El Guapo

If you're looking for the perfect margarita with a spicy kick, then look no further than this tasty libation. The El Guapo pays homage to the San Diego beach culture and is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.

El Guapo


Photo courtesy Jarnard Sutton

Muddled pineapple Muddled jalapeño 1 oz. agave nectar syrup 1.50 oz. Herradura Reposado Tequila Tajin chili rim Garnish: pineapple leaf

What’s the origin of the El Guapo?

The El Guapo was born in San Diego; a twist on a classic margarita that pays homage to our beach culture and the spice found in so many of our favorite foods.

How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?

Pineapple sweetness, jalapeño kick and familiar margarita sour.

What would be the key component in this drink?

Freshness is the main ingredient! We use fresh pineapple, jalapeño and lime juice to ensure it tastes great every time.

How did True North Tavern get their own double barrel Herradura Reposado Tequila?

Pete Ricciardelli and John Anderson went to the Herradura distillery in Jalísco, Mexico, and were shown the beautiful compound. Then they were able to select the barrels specially used, and exclusively made, for True North Tavern.

What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?

The El Guapo is easily one of our most beloved drinks, mainly because of the sweet and spicy duality. Since we use fresh jalapeños, the heat varies and can be pretty spicy!

What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?

This drink goes well with our sweet chili wings or our street corn tots, also an excellent partner to our Kale Salad or Ancho Chicken Sandwich.

Bar lead Jeff Capps shows you how to make the perfect spicy margarita, El Guapo.

What kind of experience can diners have at True North Tavern?

People can expect to relax and have a delicious meal, paired with an excellent beer or fresh cocktail, in a vibrant sports bar where they can catch (almost!) any game they wish to see.

About Jeff Capps

Photo courtesy Jarnard Sutton

Are you from San Diego?

I'm originally from Phoenix, but this is actually my fifth time living here! My mom grew up in Alpine and my grandparents still live there so San Diego has always been like a second home to me. Now, I've lived here for five years and have a wife, Mariah, and son, Clark, so now San Diego is more like home #1.

What's your thought process when creating a new cocktail?

Due to the volume we do here, I think in terms of efficiency. It’s about how can we do the most with the least. Myself and my fellow bartenders have been able to do that without compromising the quality of what we do.

What's the most complicated drink you had to make?

The most complicated drinks to make are the ones that don't exist yet! Or, that I had no prior knowledge of. A lot of times we're asked to come up with stuff on the fly, and I don't already know what's in a "Deranged French Tyrant" or a "Sex at Summer Camp." We had a drink that involved a meat smoker. It tasted pretty great, but I'm glad we don't have to use that anymore.

Are you planning on creating any new cocktails in the future?

Summer is upon us, so we're going to be diving head first into both a nearby swimming pool and the new drink menu. I love cocktails but I'm more passionate about beer; there are lots of great summer flavors coming down the beer pipeline. I'm really excited to bring the two worlds together and create something magical.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you're not creating cocktails?

When I'm not on the grind, I love spending time with my wife and son. Clark's a three-month-old, so it's great watching him take everything in for the first time. I live close to Morley Field and I'm an avid disc golfer, you might be surprised to know that a lot of the bar/beer scene here in San Diego love to throw those discs around! I love to read and write, make up goofy rap songs and go to Padres games. I love living in San Diego and all it has to offer.

True North Tavern

3815 30th St., North Park. (619) 291-3815 or

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