• Jarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Ryan Andrews of El Chingon

El Chingon, the Bad Ass two-level 1920s-inspired Mexican restaurant and bar located in the Gaslamp has finally opened its doors. They are taking food and craft cocktails to a new level. We caught up with GBOD Hospitality Group's beverage director Ryan Andrews and chatted about his journey as a bartender and about one of El Chingon's cocktail called Madero. We are fans here at the Nardcast. We approve.

Madero

$12

2 oz Azunia Blanco

4.5 oz Watermelon-Agave-Lime Cordial

Tajin Rim

What's the story behind the Madero?

It's named after President Francisco who was a key individual who helped spark the Mexican revolution. Our theme for the building is the 1920's prohibition era.

Describe the taste.

Balanced sweetness and acidity between the fresh watermelon and fresh lime. The tajin adds a nice salinity and spiciness and the Azunia tequila brings a clean savory note from the organic agave. It's refreshing and satisfying, perfect for San Diego day drinking or when the DJ gets going.

What's the key component of this drink?

The tequila and the house-made watermelon cordial.

What's the process of creating your own house-made watermelon cordial?

Juicing fresh watermelon and blending that with fresh lime juice and house-made agave syrup followed by bringing it to 172 degrees and holding it for 10 minutes.

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

they order another one.

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

Any of our tacos because the watermelon will balance out a lot of the spice and heat, perfect paring.

Watch as Ryan Andrews serves up the Madero cocktail.

What kind of experience can guests get at El Chingon?

Authentic San Diego taco shop style food to craft agave based cocktails right into DJs and a nightclub element that keeps the party going all night!

About Ryan Andrews

Are you from San Diego?

I have no hometown. I've been here in San Diego for six years. I've lived all over the West Coast but spent my high school and college years in Northern California between Monterey and Oakland.

How did you get into bartending?

My best friend was staying on my couch while transitioning into running his family's restaurant in San Francisco and he came home and told me his bartender quit. I had just moved to Oakland to study audio and complete my second bachelors and I jumped at the chance to work nights and make tips. I sucked pretty bad but I picked it up pretty quick and had no idea that 10 years later I'd be the beverage director of an incredible company and bartending at one of San Diego's best cocktail bars, Prohibition.

What's your favorite thing about bartending?

The creative process and the instant gratification from guests when you serve the perfect drink.

What's your favorite cocktail on the menu?

Get to the Choppa at Prohibition. It's an Old Fashioned with bourbon, french peach liqueur, acid phosphate and R&D Aromatic #7 bitters (my company).

What's your favorite spirit?

I really like the diversity in gin. As long as it contains juniper, it can contain whatever else. Gin is the most diverse spirit and the most interesting.

Define the perfect cocktail.

The one in my hand. A balanced cocktail is a perfect cocktail.

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

It's still fresh and people are still excited to try new things and push the envelope.

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

I own a spirits company and produce 6 types of bitters that are distributed statewide called R&D Bitters that takes up a chunk of my free time. When time allows, I love to scuba, sky dive, travel to Mexic and just overall wreck shit.

What's next for you?

Open more bars with GBOD Hospitality Group and continue to grow R&D by producing and creating more products.

El Chingon

560 Fifth Ave., downtown San Diego. (619) 501-1919 or elchingon.com

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