The Jocko's Fizz Cocktail
I love everything about Jockos Steakhouse in Nipomo. I love the dim lighting of the bar. I love the relish tray filled with olives, sweet pickles, and peppers. I love their medium rare Spencer steak grilled over oak-coals followed by Spimoni ice cream. I especially love watching my meal as it’s grilled over the smoking Santa Maria-style barbecue just a stone’s throw from my plate. I even love the fact that no matter how early you arrive for your reservation, you will be waiting a good 30 minutes before you dig into your crackers and salsa. This limbo period is actually a gift: It allows time for hanging out in Jocko’s throwback of a bar, where wine glasses are filled to the brim with local vino, the brown leather booths are cracked but comfy, and you can actually order full-on plates of cubed pork (complete with handy toothpicks) while you wait. If you want to go truly old school, I suggest ordering the famous Jocko’s Fizz, a drink that harkens back to a time when raw eggs were tossed into concoctions with glee. I recently ordered my very first Jocko’s Fizz, much to the excitement of the drink’s many loyal followers. I watched with rapt attention as my bartender filled a blender with egg, orange juice, gin, and sugar. After a quick, noisy whirl, a ceremonious pour into a Collins glass, and the addition of a plastic straw, I was ready to boot scoot back in time. The verdict: Creamy, sweet, and lightly frothy without a boozy finish—a bit like an Orange Julius or 50/50 bar, but not as syrupy. I slurped down the whole cocktail in five minutes flat and instantly began considering how I could recreate the concoction for an at-home brunch. Alas, the idea of using a raw egg in my own kitchen just felt less appealing, and how could I really enjoy a Jocko’s Fizz without the knowledge that I would soon be chowing down on the best grilled beef around? I think I’ll leave this one to the pros at this time-honored Central Coast institution. After more than 80 years in the biz, they’re not monkeying around.
• About $5, 125 N. Thompson Avenue, Nipomo.
SLO Brew's Skankin Pickle
Skankin Pickle was a Bay Area-based high-energy ska punk band that was big in the 1990s. When I was 13, a friend gave me a burned CD and I became obsessed with the furiously melodic song “I’m in Love With a Girl Named Spike,” an ode to the actor who played a punk rock teenage mom in the Canadian teen soap opera Degrassi. Just look up the lyrics on Google—they’re hilarious. I was belly up to the SLO Brew bar recently, when I was surprised to find a drink named after the obscure band I hadn’t thought about in years. Of course I had to order it. SLO Brew’s skankin pickle is a mashup of cucumber vodka, soda, lime juice, and raspberry liquor. It’s a bit more grown up than I remember, but definitely refreshing enough to keep me tearing up the dance floor far longer than a respectable adult should.
• About $8; 1119 Garden Street, SLO.
Hayley Thomas wants to hear what wine rules you’re breaking at firstname.lastname@example.org.