Dear Drink: de Leon

An open letter to 1022 South's de León cocktail

By Ron Swarner on November 15, 2012

Dear de León,

Here is the thing. Everything is changing. Everything is changing at a gray Ford Explorer Interstate 5 trooper chasing pace that excites and petrifies almost everyone involved until you want to hold your head in your hands and shriek and drink and sob. Mostly drink.

The change I refer to is technology and it's moving so fast you shall soon need Google Glass to make toast, produce grappa, dodge potholes and play the new Mahnhammer tunes through your ice cubes. You can't stop it de León. It's like, well, magic. And a little bit of Terminator-style neuroscience R&D. But mostly, magic.

Sound familiar? You bet it does. You're magic de León. I know it ... albeit a more soothing, Easter Island magic than say Skynet sorcery - but magic nonetheless.

Take a good look at yourself. From the seeds of mezcal, grilled pineapple, lime, cilantro, mint, habanero and egg white did 1022 South lounge owner/bartender/Emil Fischer-ish Chris Keil bring you into the world - then poured you over ice in a fancy lowball glass. True, I grabbed your ingredients from the hip apothecary's menu since Keil conceals a few steps in his laboratory offsite. Through Showtime's Homeland tactics I have Intel your grilled pineapple, which is made into syrup, contributes viscosity and a tropical base note in addition to supplemental sweetness.

Back to your magic. Your smoky, sweet and spicy taste, with an herbaceous kick from cilantro, transports me - like magic - to an outdoor table beneath the Havana skyline next to a woman dressed in purple, her shoulders dipping and swaying to the Cuban music pouring through the speakers of a RCA Victor model. Let's call the woman Kate - please.

Oh, by the way, did your fellow 1022 drink The Lord of Weather - with its fancy eight-week aged, house-made fire cider blend of apple cider vinegar, horseradish root, turmeric, cayenne, garlic and ginger - ever set your coaster on fire as a hot foot practical joke? I called that.

Your true magic, my friend, is the ability to summon Tacoma bassist Drew Schot whenever I sip your sweet, spicy nectar. I paid attention. Sip, Drew walks through the door. Sip, Drew walks through the door.


Just so you know, this fellow economics major sports wicked bass skills, facing the drummer in several bands including The Painkillers, Check Please and the thinking man's band Community For Public Safety, which I'm certain will follow Chicago and be renamed simply Community. Drew and I concluded every major rise in the Tacoma music scene had a strong coffee house scene to back it. Then again, I was drinking many of you, de León.

I don't know. The whole Drew thing could be coincidence. It's probably as magic as the Fountain of Youth.

Hey, wait a minute!

Ron Swarner

1022 SOUTH, 4 P.M. DAILY, 1022 S. J ST., TACOMA, 253.627.8588