We’re raising a glass to the second day of Drink Up Week, and celebrating with some mezcal. This may be a new term to you — or maybe you’re always in the spirit for a taste — but this agave-based liquor has a rich history that made its way from Mexicoto San Diego. With local establishments putting mezcal on the menu, we’re excited to get out and #DrinkUpSanDiego.
What’s your flavor? Cantina Mayahuel has a wide variety of mezcals. | Photo via @cantinamayahuel
🥃 The origin story
Let’s get to the roots of this agave-based drink. Often, its origins are credited to Spanish conquerors who taught Mexican natives distillation techniques, and they used the plant’s fermented, cooked juices to make mezcal — making the drink roughly 400 years old. This would make it the first spirit distilled in the Americas, but some historians believe native tribes in Mexico were making distilled drinks prior to the arrival of the Spanish.
Or, you might choose to believe the myth from Oaxaca, Mexico, stating that a lightning bolt struck an agave plant, cooked it, and the liquids that came out were an “elixir of the gods” that became mezcal.
Mezcal’s migration north is often credited in conjunction with its spirit sister tequila, but the liquor remained more popular in Mexico while tequila’s popularity quickly erupted across the world. But, San Diego was under Mexican rule from 1821-1848 — and the nation’s influence remains strong — so, we’reno strangers to Mexican flavors.
Many people attribute mezcal’s popularity in the US to Ron Cooper — an artist from Ojai, California, who discovered mezcal on a trip to Oaxaca. He later opened Del Maguey and helped more people discover the drink — though he certainly did not invent it. Now we love it in the US — in 2019 the country surpassed Mexico to become the world’s biggest mezcal consumer, and as of 2022, its popularity is still growing.
🥃 Mezcal or tequila?
Mezcal gets its name from the Aztec word “mexicalli,” which means “oven-cooked agave.” Tequila is steamed in ovens and can only be made from Weber blue agave while mezcal can be made from over 50 variations of agave.
Drink up, San Diego. We’re sippin’ our way through the city this week, highlighting the best of local beverages. Our friends at a few local restaurants are offering Drink Up recommendations as you get out there and do the same. 🍹
♨️ 20|Twenty (inside the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa) recommends this from its cocktail menu: TheBlack Smoke (Xicaru Mezcal, blackberries, lime, agave nectar+rosemary).
🥒 For Drink Up Week, Bencotto in Little Italy is featuring its refreshing Cucumber & Basil Tequila Cocktail, made with Tequila Blanco, fresh basil, cucumber and lime.
🥃 The Shores Restaurant inside La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club recommends a Scotch on the Beach (Dewars scotch, Ginger liqueur, Drambuie, pineapple, lemon).
🍉 Urban Plates in La Jolla makes refreshing, non-alcoholic beverages from scratch — including the Watermelon Pineapple Replenisher.
Rachel’s Promise — a space for up to 40 unsheltered women — opened as part of Mayor Todd Gloria’s plan to provide care and support for individuals with medical needs. The downtown shelter aligns with the city’s Community Action Plan on Homelessness and provides resources to address local housing insecurity. 🏠 (CBS 8)
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit Systemapproved a contract that will multiply its electric bus fleet 16-fold — and add 258 buses fueled by compressed natural gas — over the next five years. Currently, it has 13 electric buses, but hopes to super charge that number with its Zero Emissions Bus Program that would have a 100% emission-free fleet by 2040. 🚌 (KPBS)
What’s shakin’ San Diego? If you woke up early yesterday morning, you might have been
nudged out of bed by the 4.3-magnitude earthquake in
Ensenada in Baja California around 4:20 a.m. Residents as far north as Oceanside felt the quake, but no damage has been reported. 🌎 (ABC 10)
Workers at the Hilton Bayfront are back on the job after voting to ratify new contracts, ending a 16-hour strike before Comic-Con. The Unite HERE Local 30 union approved revisions that include $4 hourly pay increases, extending health coverage + changes to cleaning policies that reduce workers’ hours. 🤝 (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Residents are invited to voice their opinions at San Diego County’s Facility Planning, Design, and Construction meeting this Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. The virtual gathering will discuss newly approved buildings + recreational facilities and allow locals to provide feedback for priorities based on their communities. 💻
Students in South Bay’s Sweetwater Union High School District started a new school year with fewer yawns last week. The year-round campus started classes at 8:30 a.m. — over an hour later than 2019 — due to a state law passed in 2019 requiring middle schools to start at 8 a.m. or later + high schools at 8:30 a.m. or later — but forcing the days to end later. 🍎 (KPBS)
$23.65 million. That’s the record-breaking amount bet during Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack on Fri., July 22. The sold out event hosted 21,680 guests who weren’t horsing around when it came to fashion + hats, and Irish-bred Balnikhov won the first race, the Oceanside Stakes, under jockey Umberto Rispoli. 🏇 (The Coast News Group)
No. 2. That’s where San Diego County falls on Stacker’s list of California counties where the highest percentage of income is spent on housing. Using US Census Bureau data, the list determined that the average San Diegan spends 27.3% of their income on housing, only coming in second to Los Angeles County. 💵 (Fox 5)
Sunny San Diego lit up OpenTable’s list of the 100 best outdoor dining restaurants in America. Our county is home to nine of the best restaurants, including four in North County. The list includes Mister A’s in Banker’s Hill, Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad + C-Level on Harbor Island. 🍽️ (Open Table)
Feeling the heat of high summer energy bills? OhmConnect can help. The free service notifies users when electricity prices are spiking and will pay them to conserve power during those peak times. Bonus: New users receivea $10 Amazon gift card when they sign up. 🔌 *
We go for the epic views of San Diego Bay and that nice morning breeze — and we stay for the dope treats + sustainable coffee. Try the “Basic Sitch,” made with caramel, vanilla, espresso and milk, or the “Blondie Mocha,” made with white chocolate, brown sugar-macadamia syrup, espresso and milk.
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Editor’s pick:Good morning, San Diego. Monica + I had a blast at Comic-Con this weekend. I’m a big fan of “Bob’s Burgers,” and we got to live in a scene from “The Bob’s Burgers Movie.” We also got to sample “Wrath of P’Khan” ice cream and talk with Sam Ades — Sr. Vice President of Star Trek Franchise Management at Paramount. So much fun, and all of this happened outside the convention center.
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