Eddie Avila, bar manager at Whisknladle in La Jolla, gives us a preview of his citrus, rich and boozy cocktail called 15th Century. In addition, Avila gives us some insight on being successful in the industry.
.5 oz Lemon Juice .5 oz Vanilla Syrup 1 oz Rye Whiskey 1 oz Aquavit .5 oz Mandarine Napoléon Societe The Pupil IPA Garnish: Orange Twist
What's the story behind the 15th Century?
Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century. We change our cocktail menu every three months. This cocktail in particular is a year round cocktail. Has been selling nicely and getting great feedback. We may keep it through Winter.
Describe the taste.
First sip is full of bitter and citrus from the IPA, then the vanilla shows through while flowing into more citrus and finally ending with a caraway and dill finish.
What's the key component of this drink?
I think it’s a well-balanced cocktail, but I really want the aquavit to show through.
What reactions are you expecting to get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?
"I’ve never had, or liked, a cocktail with beer in it and I love this!"
If you had to pair this cocktail with a dish, what would you pair it with?
Anything from a burger to a nice salad with supreme citrus.
Watch as Eddie Avila, bar manager at Whisknladle in La Jolla, gives us a preview of his citrus, rich and boozy cocktail called 15th Century.
What kind of experience can guests get at Whisknladle?
Good food, good wine and great people.
About Eddie Avila
Are you from San Diego?
I moved here when I was five years old. San Diego is my home.
How did you get into bartending?
Working in every FOH position in a restaurant and wanting more knowledge and new challenges. I joined the company at Prep Kitchen Little Italy and after three months of serving, an opportunity was approached to me to bartend at Whisknladle. It was a tough decision to leave PKLI, it was my home and favorite restaurant. I knew if I wanted to learn and grow into my profession, I had to take this opportunity.
What's your favorite thing about bartending?
I love everything. The community, the rush, the freedom of creativity and the guest interaction.
What's your favorite cocktail on the menu?
All of them. Our cocktails represent everyone who helps us create them. During creation, I will bounce off ideas with chefs, servers, back waiters and guests at our restaurant. It’s a culmination of family.
What's your favorite spirit?
I've always loved rye whiskey but lately I'm getting into gin. One of my favorites at the moment is The Botanist and St. George Terroir.
Define the 'perfect cocktail.'
My go-to cocktails are Gin and Tonics and a Sazerac.
If you're going out for a cocktail, what are some spots you like to go in San Diego?
Really depends on where I'm at in the city but not in any particular order:
Sycamore Den, Cantina Mayahuel, Polite Provisions, ANY of the Coin-Op locations, all of our 5 restaurants (3 prep kitchens, Catania and Whisknladle) and the list goes on and on.
What do you love about the cocktail scene in San Diego?
How much it has grown, especially in the past five years. San Diego is a big town and is finally making the correct moves to become a city. It's a very exciting time to call San Diego home.
Do you have any mentors in the industry?
Everyone. We vibe and create energy so well together. I love how we can come together and make this industry stronger and we are now at a place where everyone isn’t just saying, “Hey, great job on the drink!” In reality, they don’t care for it but now are giving positive and constructive feedback, it’s the only way we can grow separately and together.
What advice would you give an inspiring bartender about being successful in the industry?
Be a sponge, leave your ego at the door and don’t be afraid to ask what that bottle is on the backbar. If the person on the stick doesn’t know, don’t dismiss them, that’s a great opportunity to learn together.
What do you do in your spare time when you're not creating cocktails?
Hang at the beach, spend time with family and visit my friends all over this beautiful city.
What's next for you?
I hope to stay and grow with Whisknladle Hospitality. We have two new projects we are working on which are both new experiences for me.