Pacific Coast Spirits’ Good morning, Cowboy: almost straight coffee whiskey courtesy of First Light

Amanda Tascher

Good Morning Cowboy

The smell of barbecue permeates Pacific Coast Spirits, setting the tone for the Good Morning, Cowboy cocktail I’m about to sample. Lead bartender Ashley Soto recommends smoked brisket to go with the drink, “because you’re getting that smokey flavor. It’s one of our most popular drinks,” she adds. “I always get everybody to try it and then they’re so surprised at how great it tastes. They’re like, ‘Wait, this is straight whiskey? It’s so smooth!’”

Well, almost straight. A rocks glass comes garnished with two skewered toasted marshmallows. Soto describes the drink as having “a nice balance between smokey but a little sweet. You get that smokiness from the marshmallow, that brings out the campfire taste, but you also get a refreshing coffee taste that’s not overpowering. And then you do have a little vanilla taste to it, which I think is brought out by our whiskey. Add a little orange bitters into it, and you have a complete cocktail.”

The recipe centers around another spirit distilled on-site. “First Light is a great company, so we wanted to make something with their coffee whiskey.” The story goes that First Light was founded by two cousins who spent their time surfing and camping together, and wanted to make a whiskey that would go down easy during early morning adventures. “It’s a great stepping stone to getting into whiskey… and then also for people who are used to a certain whiskey, but want to branch out — they’re not disappointed.”

The coffee whiskey is cut with PCS’s high malt rye, a versatile spirit that Soto calls light and refreshing. “It’s got a little bit of cinnamon and chocolate notes, but more than anything, you get a nice crisp oaky flavor from the barrels. And it pairs really well with the coffee flavor, too.”

It took a few variations to strike the right balance. “We tried it with a chocolate liqueur in the beginning, and it was great, but it took away from the actual beauty of First Light. And we tried to make a Manhattan out of it with vermouth, and that one did not work either. It was terrible, actually,” she grimaces. “So then, we decided just to add in our high malt rye, and it worked. You can taste everything, and it’s not overpowering. I think that was a beautiful pairing.”

Roasted marshmallows added a familiar touch. “It’s a good sipping cocktail, one that can bring back memories for a lot of people… campfires, or going camping. The outdoorsy smell really reminds you of that.”

Pacific Coast SPirits’

Good morning, Cowboy

  • 1.5 oz Pacific Coast Spirits White Rye
  • 1 oz First Light Coffee Whiskey
  • A few dashes of orange bitters
  • 2 toasted marshmallows

Mix ingredients in a shaker tin and pour into glass over a large ice cube. Garnish the glass with toasted marshmallows and enjoy!

Amanda Tascher

2024-01-04 21:00:00 , San Diego Reader stories

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