top of page
  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Nikki Peterson of Werewolf

Nikki Peterson, bartender at Werewolf, shares this must-try refreshing cocktail called The Fresh Start and chats about her start in the industry on this episode of 'Behind the Stick.'

The Fresh Start


1.25 oz Absolut Ruby Red

.75 oz lime

.75 oz simple syrup

Muddled Cucumber & Mint

Garnished with cucumber wheel

Describe the taste.

Refreshing, minty and juicy. It makes you feel like you are vacation when you drink it!

What's the key component of this drink?

Muddling all the fresh mint, cucumber, lime juice and simple syrup. All the flavors really compliment each other to make this well balanced cocktail.

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

I always recommend this drink because it's my personal favorite. Guests LOVE it, and can never order just 1. I think they are surprised by the taste because the ingredients can sound a little random.

If you had to pair this cocktail with a dish, what would you pair it with?

It goes well with everything, but if I had to pick one I would pair it with the Ahi Tuna Tostada or anything with Ahi Tuna.

What kind of experience can guests get at Werewolf?

We have something for everyone, we have a killer brunch, one of the best happy hours in the Gaslamp, karaoke Monday-Friday, and the nicest staff around. It's really hard to leave un-happy here. We all really care and our goal is to make sure our guests leave having a better day then when they first came in.

About Nikki Peterson

Are you from San Diego?

I've been living in San Diego and Santa Barbara my whole life, going back and forth the best of both worlds!

How did you get into bartending?

I started in the nightlife working in a club as a cocktail waitress, that's where I got to learn more about different drinks and shots. I started bartending a few years ago, and really was able to branch out this year with Werewolf.

What's your favorite thing about bartending?

My favorite thing is being able to meet so many different people and connect on different levels over a drink. Also the artistry behind it being able to mix and match and find different styles of spirits for different palettes.

What's your favorite cocktail on the menu?

My favorite is the Fresh Start, it's so fun to make and it compliments all of our dishes at Werewolf.

What's your favorite spirit?

Vodka, because you can mix and match it and pair it with anything!

Define the perfect cocktail.

Anything with a good balance and not too sweet!

Any local bartenders you look up to?

I enjoy everyone I work with, everyone has their own craft and skill that they bring to the table. I get to learn something different everyday.

What's the craziest thing you've seen while working behind the stick?

You will have to come into Werewolf and I'll tell you ;)

If you're going out for a cocktail, what are some spots you like to go in San Diego?

I really like the local dive bars, but I like getting dolled up and head to some of the nightclubs downtown to dance!

What do you love about the cocktail scene in San Diego?

I like that the cocktail scene goes through cycles and make their come backs. Right now "classics" are hot and they are being done very well! We have some great classic cocktails on our menu too!

What advice would you give people who are seeking employment in the industry?

Advice... I would say Make sure you are up to par on what's new & circling the industry as far as liquors & craft beers. Also make sure you're clean & organized to help you increase your speed & quality helps you look better to managers. Don't forge your tools & counts for proper pours. Every drink is made different to balance all the other flavors within it. Also don't be afraid to experiment with liquors that are not as popular cause if you can concoct something that tastes good that doesn't have the typical ingredients it's a skill that will help separate you from the others.

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

When I'm not working I make it a priority to go to they gym, and I love the outdoors. You can always catch me hiking or at the beach. We live where people vacation and I feel very blessed to live in this great city!

What's next for you?

I'm all about taking things day by day. The industry is constantly evolving so I never put my eggs in one basket. I'm all about the vibe & branching out my roots as far as they will let me go! Who knows hopefully I can grow to become a master mixologist & be able to help train other in this fine art.


627 Fourth Ave., downtown San Diego. (619) 234-0094 or

Follow Werewolf:

Click here for more 'Behind the Stick' articles.

bottom of page