alissa and ryanbehind the bardrinksentertainingFood & Drinkrecipes

behind the bar: brian malarkey’s sage sucker

by Ryan and Alissa Walker

What an honor it is today to be featuring this irresistibly delectable drink by famed Top Chef Brian Malarkey.  For those of you not already familiar with Chef Malarkey’s accomplishments and numerous accolades, make sure to check out the bio below and a little information about his new restaurant, Searsucker [thanks Kristina!].

I don’t know about you but when I think “sage” visions of butternut squash ravioli with brown butter, sage and toasted pumpkin seeds seem to dance around in my head.  It has never conjured images of croquet matches with summertime cocktails in hand.  That is until today.   This drink has completely changed my whole perception of what sage can be.  Balanced perfectly with the lemon juice, lemon rind, Kettle One Citroen and honey, the sage is a subtle surprise at the end of a refreshing sip.  I trust you will enjoy.

It’s Friday everyone… time to imbibe.  Happy weekend.  [Alissa + Ryan]

CLICK HERE for the full drink recipe after the jump!

Sage Sucker Ingredients:

  • 2oz Ketel One Citroen
  • 3 Large Sage leaves
  • 3 Lemon wedges
  • 1tsp Honey
  • 4 dashes of Fee Brothers Peach Bitters


  • In a mixing pint glass put two ice cubes, 3 sages leaves, 3 wedges of lemon and muddle until sage and lemon are good and mashed.
  • Add more ice to top of pint.
  • Add vodka, honey and bitters and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
  • Strain and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
  • If drink is made correctly there should be lots of lemon pulp and small chunks of sage throughout.

About Brian:

As an award-winning Executive Chef, Brian Malarkey’s passion for food and entertaining is the driving force behind his pursuits in both the culinary and entertainment industry. In 2007, he was cast as a contestant on Bravo’s Emmy-nominated series, “Top Chef 3 Miami,” where he advanced to the finale gaining national recognition for his talents, high-energy and captivating charm.

Brian is a professionally trained, award-winning chef who was surrounded by a family of talented cooks. A native of Bend, Oregon, Brian lived a cowboy lifestyle, growing up on a horse ranch and spending summers on the Oregon coast. He was inspired by the cooking of his grandmother in her beach house kitchen, where she was often joined by her old friend James Beard. After being seduced all of his life by all the fresh seafood and abundant produce that the Oregon country side has to offer, Brian enrolled in Western Culinary Institute’s Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Portland. He got his start in Los Angeles, at Michael Richard’s Citrus, and from there moved to Minneapolis, Seattle, and San Diego. In each city, he has opened new locations for The Oceanaire Seafood Room restaurants. Since opening The Oceanaire in San Diego, it has received more than 60 industry awards, including Brian’s Gold Medallion for Chef of the Year and Best Seafood-Fine Dining (2006-2009), San Diego’s Best Chef (2009), Zagat Top Ten Restaurants (2007), Wine Spectator Award of Excellence (2005-2008), and the DiRoNA Award of Excellence.

Currently Brian hosts a series of weekly episodes on BRAVOTV.com for “Top Chef 6 Las Vegas” called “The Remix” where he puts healthy and fast spins on winning dishes. He is also working on two cookbooks and writes a weekly blog on BRAVOTV.com and SanDiegoMagazine.com where he dishes about all things culinary.

Brian resides in San Diego with his beautiful wife, Chantelle, their first child Hunter, twins on the way, and their dog Stella.

[Brian’s portrait by Chantelle Marie of Chantelle Photography (check out her blog too!)]

About Searsucker:

This summer promises to be a busy one for Chef Brian. Brian is making his return to television, hosting a TLC special called “Mega Bites”, which aired in June. The one-hour show paired Brian with a food scientist, an engineer, and hundreds of community volunteers, to help the community of La Cañada Flintridge tackle the creation of the world’s largest Rice Krispies Treat for a fundraiser to benefit the children’s programs at the community center.

In addition to “Mega Bites,” Brian will open his first restaurant, named Searsucker, with nightlife magnate, James Brennan. Located in the epicenter of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, on the corner of 5th and Market, Searsucker will serve a menu of New American Classic cuisine emphasizing approachable and unpretentious food that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Though the menu does not specifically focus on seafood, the SEA in Searsucker pays homage to their love of the ocean and coastal location. Specialty cocktails made with local and unique ingredients compliment the menu which is also local, sustainable and house-made.

Nationally acclaimed designer Thomas Shoos has created a space that is laid-back, comfortable and worn… yet classic. Not unlike the seersucker, which is a paradox in itself, a smooth and rough material, originally worn by the poor, then adopted by the rich and now accessible to all.

Guests are greeted by the energy of a bustling bar and lounge, exhibition kitchen and chef’s table, where Malarkey plans to give cooking demos and entertain the crowd. Searsucker, will serve lunch and dinner daily and brunch on weekends.

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  • This looks lovely! I can’t get peach bitters here in Pennsylvania, though. What could I replace that with? Any other flavor of bitters?

  • This sounds delicious. So glad it is Friday… can’t wait to give it a try :) Thanks everyone!

  • I’m all over this drink, ASAP. But am I the only one who finds the spelling of the restaurant name odd? Because if they wanted to evoke the fabric, wouldn’t thay have spelled it seErsucker? Or is there some hip new word I don’t know about that has nothing to do with that great old crinkly kind of fabric?

  • Claudia – We live in PA too :( We had to get the Peach Bitters delivered to a friend in New Jersey.

    Max – The Fee Brothers Peach Bitters is definitely a specialty item. You can order it online (Amazon.com has it).

  • to tammy: i think the “Sear” in the name of the restaurant might be in reference to searing (like frying)? just a guess….cant wait to try this drink too!!