Though Break Time is a quintessential dive bar in all the best senses of the word – strong drinks, jovial atmosphere, free popcorn, pool tables, carousing customers – owners Liz and Carl Quinn like to mess around with the cocktail menu, whipping things up to please the college crowd, and dare them. This is what we discovered one recent night when we stopped by.
The BT-Rita was our challenge, a margarita designed to be as spicy as possible but without becoming undrinkable. Carl Quinn knew habanero was the way to go. But the first habanero-infused tequila they produced was so hot it made them ill, Mr. Quinn laughed. Several experiments later, the right amount of peppers was determined, and resulted in an interesting mix of Espolon tequila, Aperol, their margarita mix, a bit of agave and orange juice for color (and just to cool that thing down). In a pint glass, this was a lot of cocktail to take in, but as with spicy drinks, one sip leads to another. It was not too sweet or heavy on the tequila, but we were glad we weren’t driving.
By the way, Break Time is having a benefit for Unity Shoppe on Saturday with a night of punk rock with Santa Barbara’s raunchy D’Tease and La Vasa. There’s a raffle with one prize being a $100 bar tab. Sounds like a deal. Admission is $13 or $5 if you bring a toy, and the fun starts at 8 p.m.
2 ounces habanero infused Espolon Blanco (see recipe)
Splash margarita mix (see recipe)
1 ounce Aperol
Splash agave nectar (preferably Milagro)
Dash orange juice
To make the tequila: add 3 sliced habaneros to 1 bottle
Espolon. Let sit for 1 to 3 days.
To make the margarita mix: Combine equal parts lime and orange juices. Refrigerate. To assemble, add all ingredients over ice in pint glass, shake and serve.
Yield: 1 drink
5977 Encina Road, Goleta 692-991