It didn’t take long for The Rooftop Bar at Mission Pacific to become an Oceanside icon. The first of its kind in north San Diego County, the aerie-like venue seems to hover above the beach, offering views of the famed Pier and year-round sunshine and ocean breezes.
On any given afternoon, you’ll find surfers huddled over local microbrews and fresh oysters, groups of twentysomethings sampling platters of Ensenada-style tostadas, and first-time visitors swooning over sunset panoramas from the comfort of the bar’s upholstered banquettes. There’s something here for everyone, but what sets this SoCal paradise apart is its world-class cocktail program, which includes a seasonal selection of Baja-inspired craft libations designed to pair with acclaimed chef Roberto Alcocer’s celebrated cuisine.
“When you arrive, you’re transported to a paradise that feels dreamlike but also close to home,” says Mary Davies, Area Assistant Director of Food & Beverage for The Mission Pacific and Seabird Hotels — and a major mixology maven. “Our unique cocktails have the same appeal. They’re refreshing and delicious, innovative and high-end, but not too complex or pretentious.”
Davies broke down the Rooftop Bar’s formula for creating the perfect après-surf scene — and shared a cocktail recipe so you can replicate that chill Oceanside vibe at home.
“When we developed this menu, the concept was ‘garden-to-glass.’ As with food, a drink will always benefit from organic, local, and ultra-fresh ingredients so the flavors can speak for themselves. It’s really about using every component of an ingredient to the best of its natural ability.” The Rooftop Bar favors locally produced spirits whenever possible, like Locals Only vodka, distilled right here in Oceanside using California grapes. “We focus on creating our own flavors by infusing our liquors — whether it’s our serrano-cilantro-infused tequila or another spirit that’s flavored with beets.”
BALANCE IS ESSENTIAL
“Think of a drink as you would a dish that you like, and blend the flavors and composition. With our popular Pacific Time cocktail, lime and pineapple offer sour and sweet, while the cucumber and turmeric simple syrup provide sweetness and balance. The turmeric, which you wouldn’t normally imagine in a drink, makes it unique — and delicious!”
A TASTE OF OCEANSIDE AT HOME
“Use what you have before buying anything: Slice some lime and throw it in your Instapot to dehydrate it, and you have a garnish that you can use for months. Put some inexpensive tequila in a jar and infuse it for a few days with whatever spices and herbs you like. It’s going to take on those flavors and soften the alcohol with a smoother, more layered effect. You can do the same with pineapples and an inexpensive rum.”
PACIFIC TIME, ANYTIME
One of the venue’s most popular cocktails, the Pacific Time (above, left) is easy enough for anyone to reproduce at home using ingredients you probably already have.
- 0.5 oz. turmeric simple syrup ( instructions below)
- Fresh cucumber
- 1.5 oz. Locals Only or other vodka brand
- 0.75 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- 0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
- Make turmeric simple syrup: Combine 1 cup white sugar with 1 cup of hot water. Stir to dissolve. Sprinkle in turmeric powder to taste, starting with 1/2 tsp. and up to 1 tbsp. for a bolder flavor. Allow to cool before using.
- Peel cucumber and slice into ¼ inch coins; set aside.
- Add 3 slices of cucumber to bottom of cocktail shaker and muddle with a wooden spoon or other utensil.
- Add remaining ingredients and fill shaker with ice.
- Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.