Cheers to SIP-tember Cocktails

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | 7:24 pm

SIP-tember is Pasadena’s cocktail-rich celebration of local bartenders’ creativity. This year’s event includes over fifteen restaurants. Cocktails debut for a month, starting on August 15, and the event finishes on September 21 with an all-you-can-eat-and-drink evening at the Rose Bowl.

White Horse Lounge


We began our coverage of SIP-tember by visiting White Horse Lounge on De Lacey Avenue. Last year, their bartender, Jason Yu, took home the title of Pasadena’s Favorite Cocktail 2015 with his complex rye whiskey based drink called Forbidden. It featured rye whiskey, egg white, maple syrup and lemon juice in an absinthe-rinsed glass.

This year, he’s back with a less time consuming though equally flavorful drink called the Rye.P.A. He calls it a marriage between craft beer and a craft cocktail. He purposely stayed away from the usual sweet-sour-citrus combinations in that are common in mixed drinks and focused on richer, nuanced flavors.


Yu says he’s a big fan of rye whiskey and uses Sazerac Rye Whiskey in this year’s cocktail. The drink includes grapefruit juice and cardamom-infused honey plus pressurized beer foam made from Stone Ruination IPA. This well-balanced drink will appeal to fans of hoppy beers but isn’t overly bitter or heavy like some beers.

The unexpected hint of cardamom leaves a slightly sweet, spicy aftertaste and balances the bitterness of the IPA and rye. Yu adds that the flavor subtly changes as the beer foam melts – so sip slowly.


Brett Chovan-Hahn, also at White Horse, is entering his cocktail, Killing Thyme, in this year’s SIP-tember challenge. His cocktail is a contrast to Yu’s darker drink and features more botanical and floral notes.

Killing Thyme combines Fords Gin, Aperol, torched thyme, St. Germaine, and lavender extract. The recipe is a play on a negroni with a bright finish. Chovan-Hahn explains that his cocktail is a careful balance of flavors between the floral notes from lavender, the elderflower sweetness from the St. Germaine, the bite of gin and the smokiness of the thyme.


“[Bartending] is an art to me and the more I taste the more flavor profiles I remember…you can almost mix drinks in your head once you know the ingredients well enough,” he said.

Chovan-Hahn says that this is one of his favorite drink recipes and has seen a positive response and many re-orders. In addition to the lack of citrus, Killing Thyme is unique because it contains almost all alcohol but still goes down easy. This brightly colored cocktail is the perfect choice for warmer weather or when you’re craving something crisp.


White Horse is located at 41 S De Lacey Ave, Pasadena. Call (626) 583-9013 or visit for more infomration.



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