We use only the best here at Moniker General. We work hard to source local ingredients for our food menu in the cafe, carry local and small business brands we connect with ethically and personally in the general store, and stock our bar with nothing short of exceptional imbibes. San Diego has some amazing alcohol spirit companies (You & Yours, Old Harbor), wineries, and world class breweries (more on that another week). But when it came to selecting the right spirit for our 1920s inspired Old Fashioned, we needed to look east.
They call him the Father of Bourbon, and considering San Diego is a city of Padres, we especially like that. Located in Bardstown, Kentucky and distilled in the famous Heaven Hill Distillery, Elijah Craig was the first small-batch bourbon ever created. The Reverend Elijah Craig himself was a none other than a Baptist preacher in 1800s Kentucky and a huge activist in his community - from educator to road builder and, of course, distiller. Whiskey is technically a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash (mainly corn, but also barley and wheat). This mash is typically aged in wooden casks, which gives it that distinct brown color and taste. Elijah Craig basically wrote the book on this process in America and how to age the spirit in charred oak barrels (an essential process). Excellence over time has led Elijah Craig to be arguably one of the best distilleries in the States. They still make the liquids the same way they started over two hundred years ago with local Bardstown corn and grains as well as the famous limestone-rich Kentucky spring water.
What I Like About It | It’s easy to like the Elijah Craig Small Batch “signature warm spice and subtle smoke flavor” as those are flavor notes every whiskey drinker appreciates. Apart from it generally being regarded as “one of the world’s greatest Bourbon’s," I think it’s practically approachable both in taste and in price. My experienced whiskey connoisseur friends and beginners alike celebrate the Small Batch. It’s delicious for most cocktails and easy to drink neat or with a little spring water. I like that it’s not too hot on the tongue so you won’t get that burned-out mouth feeling. The vanilla, caramel, and nutmeg notes come out even when stirred in a drink; the legs are thin and long and you can enjoy some honey and oak top note smells as well. We use it exclusively in our Old Fashioned and it’s the perfect fit.
There’s hundreds of brown spirits out in the world that are absolutely amazing, everything from Japanese Whiskey and Canadian Ryes to Irish Whiskey and Scotch to Bourbon and Texas Whiskey. All of these have their own flavor characteristics and subtle distilling processes that make them stand out. Honestly, most of them will taste great in an Old Fashioned or other whiskey forward drink, but I believe there are better spirits than others to toss in a cocktail. Some whiskeys should just be revered in it's own glass. Every whiskey drinker has a favorite style (or specific bottle) they like based on any number of countless experiences, i.e. their own exploration/tastings, what their dad drank, what they had in college, what whiskey their mentor had sitting on their top shelf, what they were told was good, etc etc. Most whiskey drinkers have heard that the 15 or 23 yr Pappy Van Winkle is the best whiskey, though few people I know have ever tasted it (and I don’t blame them at an average $3k for a bottle of 23yr). Sure, really expensive whiskey tastes great and people would say the same about expensive wine. But blind taste test those liquids and I guarantee the most expensive doesn’t always win.
Everyone experiences flavors and smells differently, so everyone will naturally have a different opinion on what’s best. We like Elijah Craig, but hey, it’s whatever if you don’t. I say, drink what you like (and what you can afford). I personally lean towards whiskey that has a higher proof as well as a higher rye characteristic, rather than higher wheat and lower proof. Elijah Craig Small Batch is a great start. I’m also a fan of Evan Williams Single Malt, Old Granddad’s Bottled-in-Bond, and anything Balcones Distilling makes.
Don’t drink alone and always drink responsibly. Come enjoy a pour with us!
By: Clark Jones
Photography: Nate Weir
If you're not an old fashioned carpenter boring holes with a small t-shaped tool, it's possible you might not have seen the word 'Gimlet' before. With quick use from a trusted Merriam-Webster that I always keep handy, you'd see that in addition to a beautiful and slightly out-of-date pointed wood tool, a 'Gimlet' is a cocktail consisting of gin, or sometimes vodka, and lime juice. Additionally, the adjective form of gimlet is to have some piercing or penetrating quality. Put those together and you've got a classic, keen, delicious gin-forward beverage that I wish I was drinking right about now.
With that old-school, specific quality in mind, we added a few pinches of that often-avoided, only-used-consciously red spice with some heat and tossed all the ingredients together: gin, lime, fresh ginger, and a touch of cayenne. We call it Sgt. Pepper's Gimlet.
What I Like About It | It's a dynamic cocktail all the way from start to finish. Balanced and bright, the ginger lime cordial pairs with the cayenne while the herbal gin keeps it's appreciation prevalent all the way through the drink. The cayenne is prevalent but not overpowering. Served up in a coupe glass as is traditional with a sliver of lime zest for garnish. Because of the subtleness that gin presents, our Gimlet is a cocktail that I can drink as an aperitif that doesn't necessarily have to pair with dinner, nor is it a drink that will toast your taste buds for future evening beverages. Perfect for a dressed-up happy hour.
Classic Gimlets are specifically gin and lime juice. It's extreme, almost brute simplicity allows the quality of each ingredient to really make a name for itself. I like the Botanivore St. George's Gin for this, but Hendrick's Gin is an excellent choice (that should be in your liquor cabinet anyways). You won't commonly find a whiskey or rum Gimlet because the cocktail name is mostly reserved to that pungent juniper and fresh herbal botanical spirit. Gimlet's are a great start to experiment at home, tossing in some other ingredients which will lead to other variations which lead to a whole new category of cocktails and on and on you can go. Ultimately that's what makes cocktail creation as well as the cocktail industry as a whole so innovative and exciting and constantly changing.
In general, Gimlet's are a great start for home cocktail creation because it's pretty hard to mess up as long as you stick close to that base recipe of citrus plus spirit. Ready for variations? Go ahead and swap the gin for rye whiskey and why not add some maraschino liquor or green chartreuse (my favorite liqueur). Or toss in an ounce of a bitter digestif liqueur like Campari for a Negroni take. The options and variations are endless, which is ultimately what led to the creation of our own.
Created with intention and craftsman details that aren’t overlooked. Moniker Made, the furniture team part of our parent company Moniker Group, marries the design elements of intentionality, versatility, and personality to create breathtaking pieces that elevate the environment they inhabit. Each furniture piece in Moniker General was designed custom by the Moniker team and built with our store’s purpose, values, and desired aesthetic in mind.
James Garcia, our lead product manager at Moniker Made was kind enough to let us photograph his journey through building a beautiful open slab coffee table they call the La Jolla Coffee Table, one of our most popular pieces. Owing its name to the famous La Jolla coastline of San Diego, the table merges the natural contours of the wood with modern geometry. The look creates a piece that works with the natural world, instead of controlling it. Each piece is unique, as no two slabs of wood are the same. We love these coffee tables in our shop and James’ careful build process showcases the attention to detail and true craftsmanship required to create these exceptional pieces.
This spring, Southern California saw one of the most wide scale flower blooms in a long time. They called it the "super bloom" and it was everywhere. All along the roads, the interstates, and in backyards and alleyways flowers were in bloom and we loved it. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to get out in nature and enjoy the surroundings and beauty the world provided.
Sporting a couple of our favorite bags from Bradley Mountain (all handmade here in America's Finest City), Ryan and Nate took to the Liberty Station grounds for exploration.