On the banks of the man-made historic loch Rancho Santa Margarita lies the adventurous, yet neighborly Blind Pig gastropub. Where an informed beer list meets craft cocktails, you can find the Angus Young of bartenders, Mr. Ryan Autry; a smiley old soul that is passionate about finding the right drink for your taste buds while setting the mood for a proper party mode.
Right off the bat, (no pun intended), I noticed you always wear an Angels cap. What is your favorite Angels moment?
I have three favorite moments; being at Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, watching Garrett Anderson knock in 10 RBI’s in a single game against the Yankees, meeting Rod Carew, and Game 1 of the 2009 ALDS against the Red Sox. We finally beat them in the postseason.
How many Angels caps do you own?
Confession time, I’ve lost track. I’ve kept every hat I’ve ever owned. Seriously, there’s a whole shelf in my closet that’s stockpiled with Angels hats. Maybe 20-25? They all have memories and they’re all different designs. My favorite is the classic retro “A”. Definitely, I love the red caps that we sport these days. But give me the design from the Wally Joyner days and I’m SOLD!
Your last name is Autry, are you related to Gene, hence the Angel’s love?
Ah, great Uncle Gene… I think Uncle. My grandfather explained the Autry heritage to me when I was young, and I still don’t know the exact relation he is to my family. But it is confirmed that we are blood, thus the diehard fandom. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting The Cowboy, but I’m grateful for what he’s built out here on the West Coast.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about when it comes to cocktails?
My biggest passion about the cocktail scene in Orange County is the education that we get to partake in with our guests nightly. There’s so much history, and there is so much art and passion that goes into every bottle on that back bar. A whole profession was almost lost to the ages because of prohibition and we’re still recovering from that. What I wish people knew most about cocktails is their purpose. Somewhere along the line, drinking alcohol became more of means to an end than an enjoyable experience. Understanding balance, aromatics, and a storied history. It’s really a never-ending. You have science, art, history, creativity, and mathematics. Seriously everything I’ve learned in school I’ve found in booze. It’s wonderful
What is a martini?
A MARTINI IS ONE DRINK!!! JUST BECAUSE SOME A-HOLE ADDED MARTINI TO END OF HIS COCKTAIL AND PUT IT IN A MARTINI GLASS DOESN’T MAKE IT A MARTINI!!! (this is a sensitive subject in south county)
Pretend you found a hundred dollar bill in the Hi-Time Wine Cellars parking lot, what are you going in and buying?
Edradour Ballechin 10yr Heavily Peated Single Malt Scotch. Ridiculous stuff. Thanks Ricky Yarnel for introducing me to this!
What does Fernet taste like?
Stress in a bottle. Something a masochist prefers. Dry, bitter, menthol, abrasive, angry. I order a case every week and still can’t keep up. The stuff’s delicious!
Suppose you’re hosting a 4th of July party, what patriotic drink would you make and what would you call it?
Give me a solid Beer Shandy with the Big Whig IPA and I’m a happy American. I have this thing where I really like getting on top of bar tops and pouring alcohol into people’s mouths. This all started at a 4th of July party at Playground a few years back. Jason had recently introduced us to the Porron, Jerrod Dooley said let’s put in beer instead, and I joyfully jumped up there a poured beer down everyone’s faces. A party hasn’t really gotten into full swing until I end up on the bar top.
As for a cocktail, American Pie: Lairds Bonded Apple Brandy, Bechrovka, Maple, Bar Keep Apple Bitters, & Cinnamon.
You’re going to an Angels game, where are you eating and drinking before? What about during the game?
Pregame at Noble Ale Works with a Naughty Sauce, then walk over to the stadium. Snag and Angels dog with everything on it, peanuts, another beer, finish on the brick (aka the ice cream sandwich). Sometimes I’ll throw in some helmet nachos or switch it up to a bratwurst. And the craft beer selection has become way more approachable.
Visit Ryan and the talented staff at The Blind Ping at 31431 Santa Margarita Pkwy, Rancho Santa Margarita, theblindpigoc.com