Voyage LA: Meet Frankie Thaheld

Previously Posted on Voyage LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Frankie Thaheld.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started in the world of beverage service about 27 years ago as a soda jerk at a Ruby’s Metro Diner. I started a long love with all things liquid and eventually got into the greater restaurant business world working my way up from Busboy to Server always with an eye on being behind the bar. Finally in 1995, I started bar training at California Pizza Kitchen and quickly became a traveling corporate trainer traveling globally to open new locations. In 2006, I was hired by George’s At The Cove and worked hand in hand with the Executive Chef in creating a world craft influenced culinary cocktail program. I ran the cocktail programs for the restaurant along with doing private cocktail consulting in Wyoming, San Diego and Seattle.

A new chapter started in 2012 when I joined forces with Snake Oil Cocktail Company as the Director of Mixology and learned how to bring my favorite experiments and craft cocktails to a larger audience with more focus on thematics and large scale beverage production. I have made potions, bitters, shrubs, tinctures, liqueurs and cocktails across every spectrum and have shaken cocktails on desolate mountain tops, in exotic foreign countries and at some of the most impressive private residences around. I currently still sit behind the mixology stick but also do a lot of bar and spirit education along with our consulting and catering business. Drink well, my friends!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have certainly been struggles. My style is much more culinary than the pre-prohibition movement that was popularized in the mid-2000s and it took time to introduce it to the public. Nowadays, I see this style popping up in restaurants and event menus quite frequently which is great!

Also, going from restaurants to catering provided a large learning gap. I was used to making one cocktail at a time tenderly with a jigger. When you are creating 1000 portions of a certain cocktail, it takes unique processes and understanding of how to work with raw produce and other food products. There were definitely some mistakes along the way. But when you fall, the most important thing is to get back up to the bar again!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Snake Oil Cocktail Company – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We are a Beverage Catering, Design and Consulting company. We manage about 650 events annually with a focus on craft bar service. Snake Oil also operates two concessions in the downtown San Diego area at two distinct venues; The San Diego Symphony @ Jacobs Music Hall and the San Diego Repertory at the Lyceum Theater. We handle large volume shows while still maintaining a high level of bar service.

I think what makes us different is that we really listen to our clients and what they are looking for. Most other bar catering companies offer a list of cocktails and packages and make you select one. We know that your wedding or gala is unique to you and your guests and deserves well devised cocktails and beverage programs that fit you and your theme, and work with our clients to make lasting memories.

We have consulted with many brands and restaurants worldwide and always seek to bring out what is particular about the concept or culture.

I am quite proud of the culinary program we created for an 1980’s Tron Themed speakeasy in Bogotá, Colombia. Working with rare fruits and vegetables from the local area and rain forests was a treat and a challenge that we were pleased to take on.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I think it is time for us to have our own bar/venue that we own and control perpetually to showcase our mixology. We are also considering expanding with branch offices in other key cities to increase our reach. Perhaps bottling some of our most celebrated cocktail mixes. We are constantly looking for new ways to grow and thrive.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Snake Oil Cocktail Company
    6308 Riverdale Street
    San Diego, CA 92120
  • Website:
  • Phone: 858-754-9173
  • Email:
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Frankie Thaheld, mixologist at Snake Oil Cocktail Co holding a yellow drink in a bar