Rob McShea is the man behind the bar program at WhipHand. We talked about the bar concept while he served up his tasty cocktail called "Gimme the Rye, You Old Bag."
"Gimme the Rye, You Old Bag," is crafted with Rye whiskey, Cardamaro, Cynar, runny maple and grapefruit bitters. Priced at $12.
What's the story behind the cocktail you made for us?
"Gimme the Rye, You Old Bag," is a reference from the TV show Seinfeld, in the episode called the Marble Rye. This show was one of my favorites growing up, and I try to sneak in an Easter egg reference from this TV show in each of my menus.
Describe the taste.
This cocktail is an old fashioned variation that layers the flavors of maple / grapefruit / and thistle (artichoke). The drink tastes a little spicy (not hot) from the rye, bitter from the cynar, citrusy from the grapefruit, and slightly sweet from the maple. Altogether, a really balanced spirit-forward sipper.
What kind of experience can guests get at WhipHand?
WhipHand guests can experience a friendly, fun atmosphere, with a neighborhood level of hospitality.
What's unique about the cocktails here at WhipHand?
All of the cocktail recipes and presentations at WhipHand are my own twists and visions.
About Rob McShea
Are you from San Diego?
I was born in Germany, grew up in New York, went to high school in the greater Los Angeles area, came to SD for college, and figured I wanted to stay.
How did you get into bartending?
I actually got into the business as a door man during the early college years as a means to pay bills. I worked my way from there and eventually I had the epiphany that creating drinks was a passion of mine.
What's your favorite thing about bartending?
The idea of creating something with my hands, which makes someone else happy, is something that resonates with me.
What's your mission for the cocktail program?
The mission of the cocktail program at WH is to tie the whole concept together in a fun, approachable way.
What's your favorite cocktail on the menu?
My favorite drink on this menu is the "Great Scott." It’s a wonderful Rob Roy variation that avoids pretense, as it’s served in a Michael Scott "World’s Best Boss" coffee mug.
What's your favorite spirit?
I think every good barman has his go-tos, but also has an exploratory spirit of the moment, a "spirit mistress," per se. Mine right now is Rum. It is a very versatile spirit, which is made in very many countries, with different processes, and containing varying complexities. Plus it’s fun.
Define the perfect cocktail.
For me, the perfect cocktail is all in the balance, & not too finicky.
If you're going out for a cocktail, what are some spots you like to go in San Diego?
I love going anywhere with pun laden cocktail menu names, oh, and good drinks also.
What do you love about the cocktail scene in San Diego?
I really appreciate the cocktail scene in San Diego. There are a lot of passionate folks putting together some great programs throughout the city. I think that San Diegans, in terms of patrons, have been really receptive to this culture and have allowed us much autonomy with cocktail programs. I am excited about the future!
What do you do in your spare time when you're not creating cocktails?
I read, travel, write and try to stay physically active.
What's next for you?
On the horizon for Grind and Prosper is Louisiana Purchase, a cocktail bar and restaurant in North Park (University x Louisiana). The food and drink will be reflective of New Orleans. . . Should be a super fun project.
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