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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Lizzy Birnbaum of Lumberyard Tavern: How to make the Cool as a Cucumber

Located in Encinitas, the Lumberyard Tavern is known for its large selection of bourbons, whiskeys, scotch-whiskey blends, single malts and delicious comfort eats. Top bartender Lizzy Birnbaum shares the recipe for a refreshing, light and tequila-based libation called Cool as a Cucumber.

Cool as a Cucumber


Muddled cucumber .75 oz. simple syrup .75 oz. fresh lime juice 2 oz. Espolòn Tequila Blanco Garnish: Lime, salt and pepper

Is this a seasonal cocktail?

Yes, it's intended to refresh the senses for summer. When I first tasted it, I immediately wanted to sip the remainder of it on our sunny patio. San Diego experiences summer nearly year-round though so you could really order it any time!

Any reason why you chose Espolòn Blanco Tequila as the spirit? Could mezcal work?

The nose on Espolòn is delicate with a hint of pepper so it works perfectly with our recipe. It's light to medium bodied palate makes it a perfect compliment for cucumber. I find mezcal's smokey flavor doesn't quite compliment light crisp flavors as well, it might over-power the delicate tartness of this drink.

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

Refreshing and delicate with a peppery after taste. One of my favorite things about this cocktail actually happens before the first sip. I LOVE the smell of the pepper on the surface.

What would be the key component in this drink?

The tequila of course! Well, for me truthfully, it's the cucumber. This is the first cucumber and tequila cocktail I've mixed here at the Lumberyard. I was used to mixing this flavor with gin or vodka based drinks and I love how it tastes soft mouth feel of Espolòn Blanco.

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

That it's different. Often times a specialty cocktail list offers sweet colorful libations. We really wanted to balance each cocktail on our new list with interesting combinations. We've incorporated savory herbs, seasonal sweets and aromatic garnishes.

What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?

Cool As A Cucumber pairs best with seafood dishes. I recommend our Salmon Skewers or Kale & Shrimp Salad for a perfect combination.

Watch as the top bartender Lizzy Birnbaum shows you how to make this refreshing, tequila-based libation, Cool as a Cucumber.

What kind of experience can diners have at Lumberyard Tavern?

The dining experience at the Lumberyard Tavern can be considered casual dining in an open relaxed atmosphere with quality food made from fresh ingredients. The Tavern is a welcoming environment for all featuring local craft beers, over 70 whiskies & scotches, a craft cocktail menu, upbeat background music, all sporting events and a dog friendly patio. Our breakfast on the weekends is a local hot spot serving $3 Bloody Marys and mimosas from 9am-2pm.

About Lizzy Birnbaum

Are you from San Diego?

I was born and raised in San Diego. However, I lived in San Francisco for five years and tasted some pretty amazing cocktails before moving back.

How did you get into bartending?

I have been in and out of the restaurant industry for over 10 years. After about a year as a bar back and server here at the Lumberyard, I began training as a bartender. I trained with some of my favorite bartenders ever and soon began loving a fast-paced environment and relationship with our patrons. I'm creative by nature but love to move fast so it's been a great fit.

Define the perfect cocktail?

Fizzy, aromatic and beautifully presented.

What's your favorite tequila cocktail?

I really enjoy a generously minty margarita with fresh lime juice and agave (never sweet and sour). I am admittedly a snob about margaritas.

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

The Lumberyard is the perfect environment for creating new things. We have so many fresh ingredients to play with and even offer a "Bartender Mashup" on the menu which gives the bartender an opportunity to create something fresh and delicious for our patrons. I create new cocktails all the time! It makes me really happy to hear that a customer enjoyed my creation.

What is one thing you wish people understood about bartending?

You are drunk, but we are still people. Be polite :)

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

Officially? I like hot yoga, karaoke and weekend trips with girlfriends. Honestly? I love watching Beyoncé music videos.

Lumberyard Tavern

967 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas. (760) 479-1657 or

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