The Habit Burger Grill has partnered with New York-based mixologist Carlos Ruiz on some easy-to-recreate cocktails made with the fast-casual restaurant concept’s own fountain drinks. Ruiz, a native of Lima, Peru, is an award-winning mixologist and hospitality industry consultant who specializes in cocktail menu development, training, inventory and cost management for bars, restaurants and events.
Founded in Santa Barbara, CA, in 1969, The Habit Burger Grill specializes in cooked-to-order chargrilled burgers and handcrafted sandwiches and fresh salads. It now operates more than 330 restaurants in 14 states throughout Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington, as well as 11 international locations, five in China and six in Cambodia.
Here are Ruiz’s cocktail recipes, along with his suggested dishes at The Habit Burger Grill that would pair nicely with each drink.
3 Green grapes
2 oz. Minute Maid lemonade
1 ½ oz. Blanco tequila
Combine all ingredients. Muddle, shake with ice and strain into rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with fizzy grapes (carbonated grapes).
Suggested pairing: Santa Barbara Cobb.
Notes: “The tequila was a no-brainer for pairing with this distinctive salad. Utilizing a lowland tequila with pepper, vegetal and earth tones will complement The Chicken Cobb Salad very well and act as a flavor enhancer!”
¾ oz. Simple syrup
¾ oz. Lime juice
2 oz. Habit black tea
2 oz. Gin
Combine all ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into Collins glass. Garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel and mint sprig.
Suggested Pairing: Chicken Club Sandwich
Notes: “When I tasted this sandwich, I wanted to create a drink that was mild, refreshing and acted as an herb for the sandwich. Black tea is one of those ingredients that immediately popped up in my head. The tea acts like a herb rub that complements the char on the chicken, hickory smoke from bacon, sweetness of the tomato, and the tanginess from the sourdough.”
½ oz. IPA reduction
½ oz. Lemon
1 oz. Grapefruit
1 oz. Vitamin Water XXX
1 ½ oz. Rye
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker. Shake with ice and strain into rocks glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig.
Suggested pairing: Tempura Green Beans
Notes: “IPAs are the perfect pairing for fried food. With this drink, I wanted to bring out the acidity of the hops by making an IPA reduction to help cut through. At the same time, this drink is light and refreshing and serves as a complement to fried dishes.”
Santa Barbara Sangria
Santa Barbara Sangria
¼ oz. Pineapple syrup
1 ½ oz. Habit wild berry acai limeade
3 oz. Beaujolais red wine
Combine all ingredients into cocktail shaker. Whip shake and pour into wine glass. Garnish with a dehydrated pineapple.
Suggested pairing: French Onion Charburger.
Notes: “French Onion Soup has a strong, yet sweet caramelized onion flavor that can easily overwhelm a delicate counterpart. So for this drink, I wanted to create something that would cut through the cheese and the crisp of the onion rings.
The acai berry is one of those berries that is earthy and bitter and I used the wine Beaujolais to add an acidity that would cut right through. The goal of the Santa Barbara Sangria is to offer the perfect blend of light flavor to balance the heartiness of the French Onion Char.”
2 tbsps. Habit’s Pumpkin Pie Shake
2 oz. Mr. Black cold brew liqueur
Barq’s Root Beer
Combine all ingredients. Whip shake. Pour into Collins glass. Top off with root beer and ice. Garnish with Cinnamon toast crunch cereal.
Suggested pairing: Charburger with cheese and side of french fries.
Notes: “What’s better than pairing a milkshake with a burger? Bringing the classics into the fold! This is a fun, elevated take on a rootbeer float. Pro tip: Make sure to dip your fries in the drink.”