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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Eric Constein of 1919

1919, downtown San Diego's sports bar, is the perfect spot for watching the game, grabbing a bite to eat, trying a different craft beer and enjoying a stiff cocktail. Top bartender Eric Constein shares their smoky, refreshing mezcal-based cocktail, Foul Play, with Behind the Stick.

Foul Play


1.50 oz. El Silencio​ Mezcal 1.50 oz. pineapple juice .75 oz. lime juice .50 oz. Orgeat 1 Dash Peychaud’s bitters 2 sprays of hazelnut liqueur

Garnish with a pineapple leaf

What's the story behind the Foul Play?

It takes a straight forward approach of a tropical cocktail and makes a cool "turn" when it hits your pallet with the smoke from the mezcal.

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

It is important to explain to the guest who hasn't tried mezcal that the taste can be foreign, smokey and bitter. I've always felt explaining these notes allowed the guest to be better prepared for an immersed experience into the world of Mezcal.

What would be the key component in this drink?

The key component in almost any mezcal-based cocktail is the mezcal. The strong earthy flavor that is summoned from the liquor is apparent, no matter how you dress it.

When choosing the mezcal, why did you go with El Silencio​ Mezcal?

El Silencio has done a fantastic job of honoring the traditional distilling process and yet have made an entry-level mezcal for the novice drinker.

Could you switch the mezcal for a tequila?

Yes, actually this recipe called for tequila originally, but who wants to be original?

What are some good dishes to pair with this drink?

This drink pairs well with dark meats and spicy foods. Think of similar pairing to a deep Merlot.

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

"WOW! I didn't see that coming."

Bartender Eric Constein shows us how to make this tropical, smoky mezcal margarita called Foul Play.

What kind of experience can diners have at 1919?

An elevated sports lounge experience. It's not just fried food and cheap beer. We take pride in our menu and make 95% of our food from scratch.

About Eric Constein

Are you from San Diego?

I am not from San Diego. I have had family in Temecula since the early '80s, but was born and raised in Lancaster, Pa. I moved here in January from Atlantic City, NJ.

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

How can I create an experience for the guest that is new. I want to reinvent the wheel every time.

Define the perfect cocktail.

From the first sip to the last, you cannot help but to enjoy it. A cocktail that brings you back to a fond memory and allows you to appreciate the value of spirits.

What are some cocktail trends are you seeing in San Diego?

Mezcal is a big one. It's trending in the right direction too. Craft beer and craft cocktails have made a living for themselves here in sunny San Diego. Look for Tijuana to start competing in our immersive market with great distilleries and craft brews.

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

Every day is a new opportunity to do so. I take from what I learn, while I am experiencing America's Finest City. I never want to steal someone's creation in this industry, but if I see a building process or an unique way to get more from an ingredient, I absolutely will add that to my repertoire.

What is one thing you wish people understood about bartending?

There is no glory. Long gone are the days of Tom Cruise flipping bar flair at a Friday's. This is and always will be an industry built on passion and hard work. Guests of any establishment only see 10% of what goes into what we do. There are no bad days, tired days, or even days off for that matter. Every moment is a stage to entertain, educate and provide for the guests that cross our paths.

What's your favorite drink to make behind the bar?

Sazerac. If performed correctly, there is no better way to grab the full bars' attention than flambeing a rinsed glass with absinthe in the shadows of a dim bar.

Are you a mezcal drinker? If so, what's your favorite mezcal libation?

Yes, I prefer it with one cube to be honest. I see mezcal as the sinister kin to Scotch. We can dress it up in many ways to improve the drinkability, but for me, I want to taste all that comes with that fine spirit.

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

Teaching Heidi, my dog, house behaviors and playing with my three cats Leo, Luigi and Lucia. All of my animals are rescues that bring joy to my life everyday.


Photo courtesy

560 Fifth Ave., downtown. (619) 501-1919 or

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