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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Andrew Larson: How to make The Burning Bush

The Nolen is the perfect downtown rooftop bar and lounge for great eats, good vibes and stiff cocktails created by Andrew Larson. Larson, the creative lead, chats with Behind the Stick about his spicy, smokey and fruity cocktail, The Burning Bush.

The Burning Bush


1.5 oz. tequila .50 oz. Giffard peach liqueur .50 oz. fresh lemon juice .50 oz. strawberry shrub 4 - 7 dashes spicy tincture Watermelon wheat ale 4 - 5 basil leaves Garnish: basil leaf

What’s the origin of The Burning Bush?

It's a riff on a cocktail I created in Seattle. Something spicy yet refreshing on cloudy or sunny days!

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

Smokey, fruity, spicy and citrus blend topped with watermelon wheat ale and fresh basil. I wanted to give someone something as refreshing as an ice cold beer but with a fresh and spicy twist.

What would be the key component in this drink?

I'd say the peach and strawberry shrub are the binders that bring this drink together.

What's the process of making the housemade firewater?

Combine 30 fresh habaneros with 64 oz. water. Boil and reduce to about 4 - 5 oz. of water. Take off heat and add 1 liter of high-proof neutral grain spirit and blend. Fine strain and bottle.

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

"Can I get a pitcher please!" What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?

Summer salad, Baja Guacamole or the Jerk chicken quesadilla.

Creative lead Andrew Larson shows you how to make this refreshing, spicy and smokey cocktail, The Burning Bush.

What kind of experience can diners have at The Nolen?

Custom tailored cocktails, awesome shareable apps, beautiful views of the city and relaxed atmosphere!

About Andrew Larson

Are you from San Diego?

I was born in Sacramento, spent the last five years in Seattle, and have been in San Diego for four months.

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

What's in season and what's available.

Define the perfect cocktail.

Shot & a beer? But really, you need balance! Acidity, sweet, richness, depth, nose and finish.

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

Of course! All day, everyday! Keep pushing the envelope. New ingredients = new projects!

What is one thing you wish people understood about bartending?

Hard work is the name of the game! We don't go to bartending school to learn this craft! There's a lot of time we spend outside of work to learn and teach ourselves about the products we sell and use. What do you do in your spare time when you're not creating cocktails?

Skateboard, chill out with friends and cook!

The Nolen

453 Sixth Ave., downtown. (619) 796-6536 or

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