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150 years ago, the area that is now the Gaslamp Quarter was jokingly nicknamed “Rabbitville” after its chief inhabitants. The “Dusty Rabbit” was a signature cocktail contest wherein 24 different merchants of the Gaslamp Quarter honored the pioneering spirit of legendary founder, Alonzo Horton, who transformed Rabbitville into the thriving dining and entertainment district it is today!

Beginning May 24th 2017 the Gaslamp Quarter Association challenged mixologists, bars, and restaurants from around the neighborhood to create a cocktail named the Dusty Rabbit. Each location’s recipe was open to interpretation and  included any kind of spirit or alcohol uniquely reflective of the establishment.

Each of the 24 merchants who participated in the contest had incredibly creative cocktails, using popular spirits and fresh ingredients.  Each establishment wanted to win the contest and votes were counted by social media engagement.  The top four locations serving the Dusty Rabbit that received most engagement on Instagram and email  would be served at the GBOD Group 150th Gaslamp Gala presented by Trilogy Real Estate Management (November 7th, 2017).  At that event, ticket holders would taste the top four cocktails and vote for their favorite.  The Horton Grand Hotel’s Salt & Whiskey received the most amount of social media engagement prior to the Gala.  So Salt & Whiskey’s cocktail, Searsucker,  Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, and Henry’s Pub were the finalists that served up their mixologist masterpieces.

Horton Grand Hotel

311 Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

  • 2 oz Hochstadter’s Rye Whiskey
  • .25 oz Roasted Beet Juice
  • .25 oz Fire Roasted Carrot Juice
  • .25oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • .1 oz Maple Syrup
  • .25 oz Sparkling Cider
  • 2 dashes Celery Bitters
  • Garnished with beet powder and basil

Blue Point Coastal Cuisine

565 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

  • 1.5 oz Old Harbor San Miguel Gin
  • 2.0 oz Fever Tree tonic water
  • 1.0 oz House made honey simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz Lime Juice
  • Fresh Mint and Cucumber
  • Garnished with celery and carrot peel

Henry’s Pub

618 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

  • 2.5 ounces of apple infused boubon
  • .5 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • Spoonful of luxardo cherry juice
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 4 dashes of bitters
  • Build in a pint glass and stir to perfection
  • Strain over fresh ice and garnish with apple peel and luxardo cherry!!!  Boom!

Searsucker

611 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

“The Extra Special Peter Rabbit”

  • 1 oz Cucumber Gin (House infused cucumber gin)
  • 1.5 oz Pimms
  • 1.5 oz Basil Lemonade
  • Garnish – Pickled Carrot and Basil Leaves

Ticket holders at the GBOD Group 150th Gaslamp Gala presented by Trilogy Real Estate Management on November 7th, tasted and dropped their vote in a glass bowl.  The winner of the 150th Anniversary Dusty Rabbit signature cocktail contest is……

Searsucker!

I had the pleasure of going over to Searsucker this week and learn more about their cocktail, and how they plan to tell the world of this special anniversary contest.  I met bartender Leo Barbosa over at Searsucker located in the heart of the Gaslamp and asked him some questions.

How does it feel to be the winner of the 150th Anniversary Signature Cocktail “Dusty Rabbit” Contest?

Leo:  I was so excited!  I was extremely impressed by all of the finalists, and was very honored to have received this award for Searsucker

What is the recipe for your Dusty Rabbit?

Leo: Our Dusty Rabbit was taken from a cocktail that was very popular in the restaurant since its opening 7 years ago called, The Peter Rabbit, which is

  • 1 oz Cucumber Gin (House infused cucumber gin)
  • 5 oz Pimms
  • 5 oz Basil Lemonade
  • Garnish – Pickled Carrot and Basil Leaves

For the Dusty Rabbit,  we replaced the house infused cucmber Gin with an English London Dry Gin called Sipsmith.  We loved the crisp taste of the Gin and it married well with the rest of the ingredients.

How do you make the basil lemonade?

Leo: The Basil Lemonade is delicious and is it basically 1 pound of basil chopped and mixed into a sugar and water simple syrup with macerated lemons.  People can easily create it by muddling basil and Lemons and  add simple syrup (sugar and water)

I love the garnish, the basil looks like bunny ears, and is that a carrot?

Leo:  Yes, we thought this garnish  would be  fitting for the Dusty Rabbit.   The carrots are baby round bunch carrots pickled in brine, apple cider vinegar, and lots of spices.

Now that you guys have won, will it be on the menu?

Leo:  I really hope so, it is a delicious cocktail, and  Searsucker is the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter so this is a fitting tribute to the 150th anniversary.  I am also hoping our neighbors at the other participating bars and restaurants will adopt the cocktail too?

As I looked around the spacious, rustic restaurant, I noticed that their Dusty Rabbit winning plaque was displayed with some other cocktail awards and trophies.  Then, I witnessed Leo telling guests about the cocktail, and its story.  The guests were romanced with the story and the ingredients in the cocktail so of course  the two gentleman ordered a Dusty Rabbit.  Leo smiled and winked at me, and I felt like a proud parent, watching the birth of this historic cocktail in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Make sure to try the winning Dusty Rabbit at Searsucker!  Keep posting your pictures, and #Dustyrabbit!