Laura Price, beverage ambassador at the Cutwater Spirits Tasting Room & Kitchen. Image: Courtesy Cutwater Spirits.

Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living.

I am Laura Price, the beverage ambassador at the Cutwater Spirits Tasting Room & Kitchen. I work with the team to develop our craft cocktail menu which changes seasonally. I have the pleasure of building innovative cocktails using Cutwater’s portfolio of over 20 award-winning bottled spirits that span nearly every category including tequilas, rums, mezcals, gins, vodkas, whiskeys, and liqueurs. Most days, you can find me behind the bar at the Cutwater Tasting Room in Miramar, shaking up cocktails and sharing my excitement about our incredible distillery, spirits, and canned cocktails.

What brought you to the food and beverage industry?

I started as a busser and dishwasher at the age of 15. I immediately loved the customer service aspect of working in restaurants and have developed a true passion for making delicious craft cocktails. That is what keeps me in the industry!

What are your essential bar or kitchen tips, shortcuts, and tools? Where do you find inspiration when you are creating a new cocktail?

Bartending Tips 

1. There is always something to do—better to be over-prepared than under. 

2. Know your recipes—both menu cocktails and all the classics! 

3. Have fun! At the end of the day, bartending is a pretty awesome gig. 

Recipe Inspiration

When creating a new cocktail, I am inspired by many things—whether that’s the spirit I am working with or the ingredients I find. However, I find I am most inspired to develop cocktails that reflect the time of year. Last October we created a month-long Halloween-themed cocktail menu and in December we developed a fun specialty cocktail menu inspired by the season.

Image: Courtesy of Cutwater Spirits.

What seasonal ingredients, drinks, and dishes are you enjoying right now?

Melon! I often mirror our restaurant’s seasonal dishes when coming up with the ingredients and flavors for the cocktail menu. We recently added an arugula salad with cantaloupe, prosciutto and mozzarella, which I love to pair with our new "Sunset Cliffs" cocktail. It’s super refreshing made with Cutwater Gin, cantaloupe, Aperol, coconut yogurt, and lemon.

What do you love about San Diego's food and beverage scene?

I love the heart and dedication of the locals who work in this industry. There is something palpable about the authenticity of the food and beverage scene here. Everything from the dining experience to the taste of a dish or cocktail is just better when it’s created with love.

What is your favorite San Diego bar? Favorite restaurant? Favorite market or grocery store?

Favorite bar has to be Aero Club, because I love trying new whiskeys. Favorite restaurants are Cowboy Star for steak and The Joint for sushi. I live in OB so the OB farmer's market has a very special place in my heart.

The Riviera made with Cutwater Mezcal Joven. Image: Courtesy of Cutwater Spirits.

What is your favorite cocktail on the menu right now? What is your favorite canned cocktail flavor?

My favorites can change with my mood or the weather, but right now—The Riviera made with Cutwater Mezcal Joven, watermelon, aloe, lime, and absinthe is my favorite cocktail on the spring menu. And my favorite canned cocktails are definitely our newly launched Ranch Waters made with our own real tequila and come in variety packs with lime, watermelon, and prickly pear. They are made with real juice and all too good to choose just one!

Do you have a drink recipe you'd like to share?

I love our classic Mai Tai which features three of our award-winning rums. 

Cutwater Mai Tai

.75 ounces Cutwater White Rum

.75 ounces Cutwater Bali Hai Gold Rum

.5 ounces orange liqueur

.5 ounces orgeat (almond syrup)

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce Cutwater Bali Hai Dark Rum

Add all ingredients except the Dark Rum to a cocktail shaker, then add ice (we use pebble ice for our Mai Tai).

Shake until its well-chilled and pour into a double rocks glass. Top with more ice and float 1 ounce Dark Rum. Garnish with a mint bouquet and orange slice.

The Cutwater Mai Tai recipe uses three Cutwater rums. Image: Courtesy Cutwater Spirits.

What steps do you take at work to support a sustainable food system and why are these values important to you?

I know that everyone is responsible for doing their part and that little things add up to impact the bigger picture. Behind the bar, small steps like teaching our newest team members how to properly recycle starting on day one, keeping an eye on water usage, not running dishwashers if they're not full. Things like that are important. We also dehydrate our garnishes to drastically reduce daily waste, and are working with the kitchen on reducing food waste by streamlining our ingredients...for example: this summer, Chef Adam will take the pulp from pineapples we juice for cocktails behind the bar to make a pineapple butter in the kitchen that is incredible.

How would you like to connect to the Edible San Diego food community and why?

As the first distillery in San Diego since prohibition, Cutwater is deeply connected to our home town. We offer a distinct dining and drinking experience featuring exceptional craft and canned cocktails that are made with our award-winning spirits—many of which are produced right here at the distillery. It’s a full experience offering guests something truly special and unlike anything else in the city.

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