The Swine Bar

4130 Park Blvd., San Digeo   |  Neighborhood: University Heights
(619) 344-2177 

Savory, Salty, Smoky, Spicy Cocktails at The Swine Bar a.k.a. Sausage and Meat!

by Miles Roberson

The spotlight at San Diego’s Sausage and Meat is, well, sausage and meat but to be more specific game meats, sausages and house-made bacon. From Scott Slater, who brought us Slater’s 50/50, S&M may consider themselves an eclectic meatery with a great cocktail list but I consider them a great cocktail bar with eclectic meats! Either way this place rocks. I met with bartender Caleb and Director of Operations Justin. Normally I choose three cocktails to sip and review but at The Swine Bar I couldn’t pick only three so I had, ahem … more than that but I only get so much page space so I decided on a gin, bourbon, tequila, mescal, another gin and a whiskey-based offering … whew!


Pacific Jewel
The winning cocktail at this year’s Chefs and Shakers competition, where 12 bartender and chef teams came together to put forth one cohesive pairing utilizing “salt” as their inspiration, the amazing Pacific Jewel will be newly added to the menu by the time you read this article. This one begins by muddling cilantro, cucumber, fresh lime juice and simple syrup then adding Chareau, an aloe liqueur, and a San Diego gin from Old Harbor. Combine all the above into a shaker and give it a good shake. Strain into a lowball glass, top with Himalayan sea salt and cracked pepper with a cucumber wheel garnish and lo and behold you have yourself the Pacific Jewel! Everything is well balanced with the ever so gentle aroma of cilantro as you hoist this prize winner up to you pie hole. Immediately you will get a balance of savory salt and pepper in conjunction with sweet cucumber and aloe with a subtle hint of gin. A wonderfully refreshing beverage, it will surely change your mind about gin.

Swine Bar Old Fashioned
One of its more popular drinks is the Swine Bar Old Fashioned, a deceptively simple drink made from Buffalo Trace Bourbon infused with bacon, a bit of maple syrup, barrel aged whiskey bitters and nothing else. The success of the cocktail is not just about combining the two great ingredients of good bourbon and fine bacon. Rather, the cocktail is all about the balance in choosing the right bourbon, offsetting the smoky flavors of the bacon with a hint of bitters, and keeping an eye on the sweetness of the drink. The result is a combination of unique American flavors of bourbon, bacon and maple syrup evoking memories of a breakfast where maple syrup mingles with bacon … oh yeah, and garnished with a big ol’ fat piece of bacon!

So Fuego Right Now
I am a huge tequila fan. When I saw this drink called for horseradish, I was intrigued. Other than in a Bloody Mary, I’m pretty sure I’ve never had horseradish in a drink. I’m always up for something new, the weirder the better. … The Fuego muddles cilantro, fresh lime juice and horseradish then combines the aforementioned muddledness with a house made strawberry puree and Corralejo Tequila Blanco. Kind of like a strawberry margarita kicked up a few notches. The horseradish is very subtle; you almost don’t notice it’s there. Served in a challis, the fuego is en fuego! Look for it under the Savory and Salty section of the cocktail menu.

Up in Smoke
When it comes to Mexican booze, tequila’s gotten all the glory. Until recently, if you asked for a drink made with mescal at your local watering hole, chances are your request was met with a blank stare. But all that’s changing. The smoky spirit has caught a new wave of popularity and is popping up on more and more cocktail menus. Ready to try it? The Up in Smoke is a simple cocktail with a complex taste. With only four ingredients (chocolate bitters, agave, fresh lime juice and Xicaru Mezcal), the cocktail is a smoky, sweet, tart and bitter combo that is well balanced in a challis topped with a shaving of Mexican chocolate. Mescal madness is here to stay!

Grandma Arlyce’s Picker Upper
I had to try a cocktail under the breakfast offerings so when I asked Justin for his recommendation he immediately went with this one. The Picker Upper is a base of Martin Miller’s Gin, Aperol and Yellow Chartreuse combined with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and orange juice topped off with Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters. The bitterness of the Aperol and grapefruit bitters comes across aggressively with the sweetness of the O.J. and Chartreuse to follow. Get your vitamin C with this one and while you’re at it ask Justin the story behind the name of this cocktail.

Whiskey Sour
** S&M’s No. 1 Seller ** Trends swing back and forth. In the beginning everything is simple. Bartenders use what they can find, adding new ingredients as they become available. More bartenders have begun to work with the new trend of adding their own twist. Some catch on and some don’t. The original product begins to get more and more complex as competitors try to outdo one another with the most extreme versions they can find. The product gets so complex that people begin to yearn for something simpler. They get tired of all the bells and whistles and the 12 ingredient drink and just want something simple. The Whiskey Sour at S&M is the kind of drink you don’t tinker with. It’s a basic bourbon, sugar, lemon, egg white and Angostura Bitters mix but smooth as velvet. There’s not much to say about this one other than after trying it, I can see why it’s their No. 1 seller. Simply delicious.

Appetizer Spotlight
Lamb Tostada Bites. The Lamb Tostada Bites are like getting the best loaded up nacho on the plate every time! Runner up at The Chefs and Shakers competition for Appetizers, The Bites are mini tostadas loaded with juicy smoked lamb, spicy avocado smash, cucumber salsa and smoked lavender salt topped with a jalapeno ring. Four come on a plate but you’re going to wish you had a mound of them.

Other than great cocktails, the beer and wine menu is quite impressive with 12 rotating drafts (many local), plus nine bottles/cans and 13 wines. If ordering meat to go, you can grab a beer from their retail section or take a cold one from the bar. There are so many interesting and complex cocktails to experience but my poor liver could only handle so much so I’ll need to come back for the rest … won’t you MEAT me there?

Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. featuring $2 off of ANY drink and a free strip of savory house made bacon (current flavors are Honey Sriracha, Hickory, Garlic Rosemary Parm, Smoked Chipotle, Brown Sugar, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate Cashew and Cinnamon Sugar).


Dry Shake
In the spirit of the Whiskey Sour, to dry shake a cocktail means to shake the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with no ice. All recipes that involve egg whites (which is used to make drinks foamy) start with a vigorous dry shake, one that lasts at least 15 seconds. Dry shaking ensures that the egg white incorporates with the other ingredients and that it gets a nice frothy texture.