Welcome Diner's Mike Pantoja Makes Ginger Beer and More from Scratch

Categories: Hooch

Heather Hoch
Pantoja's soda siphon helps him create his ginger beer and tonic.
With a strong, but modest liquor foundation behind the bar, Pantoja makes up for limited selection by being creative in other ways. Cocktails on draft and making everything from scratch are just two of the ways he's doing this.

So far, Pantoja has made an apple bitters and a kaffir celery bitters, but he's got his sights set on a house aromatic bitters blend that he's looking to ingredients like smoked cedar to create.

Although he plans on switching some of the drinks out for summer, his current line-up on the menu features a little something for everyone, though he admits his and Babcock's love of whiskey has an obvious imprint on the list. While most of the menu features classics like an Old Fashioned, a Negroni, a Sazerac, and a Manhattan, drinks like his popular Kentucky Thoroughbred and a light and fresh Brazilian cachaça-based Batida Rosa show off his ability to mix up a wide range of drinks with what he's got.

Pantoja says making his own tonic and ginger beer is both cost-effective and allows him to have more control over the flavor of the mixers he's using. Plus, he says once he explains to guests how easy it is to make your own ginger beer, they're usually pretty shocked.

"The ginger beer they sell in the store is kind of a rip off," he says.

Heather Hoch
All you need to make ginger beer.
Basically, he says that all he does is finely mince some ginger in his food processor and then he boils the ginger in hot water. After a few minutes, he strains the ginger chunks out and adds sugar. Once the sugar dissolves completely, he adds fresh lemon juice and a little more water. After that, he allows the mixture to cool and then it's ready for the soda siphon, which carbonates the ginger beer.

In terms of proportions, if you want to make your own ginger beer, the following combination will yield two gallons of it:

5 pounds of ginger
2 quarts of sugar
2 quarts of lemon juice

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Location Info

Welcome Diner

924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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I might try the welcome diner sometime... if it moves out of the ghetto. I'd like to still have a car when I finish eating.

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