I might not be as well-versed on cocktails as D.A. Kolodenko, who’s been writing this column, or his predecessor, Kinsee Morlan, but, as the new teller of Cocktail Tales, I’m ready to learn. And, I’ll be the first to admit that my cocktail etiquette could probably use some polishing—I prefer my martinis with vodka, shaken to the point where there are little flakes of ice in the glass, and, until recently, I didn’t know vermouth needed to be refrigerated.
That doesn’t mean I’ve ignored San Diego’s growing, if a bit late-to-the-game, craft-cocktail scene (though my favorite cocktail has remained the same for the nearly 10 years I’ve lived in San Diego—the 50/50, as prepared by Bartender Dave at Imperial House in Bankers Hill). Some recent faves: URBN’s Ginger Rogers (Miller’s Gin, Canton, lime juice, mint, ginger beer) and, though I was initially wary of the whole beer-cocktail thing, Monkey Paw’s Please, Chimay I Have Another (gin, Cointreau, lemon, Chimay white) is addictive. Over at El Take it Easy, owner Jay Porter last year introduced a mescal-centric cocktail menu. Recommendations: the Jai Alai—a mescal take on a traditional sour—and the gimlet-esque The Long Goodbye.
While I assess where to head next for a good drink, here are some places for you to check out:
On Sunday, April 15, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sam Ross of New York’s famed Milk & Honey bar—the godfather of craft cocktail spots—will be mixing drinks at Noble Experiment. Since the bar holds only 35 people at a time—and sticks to that rule—reservations are required. Dial 619-888-4713.
And on April 17, Grant Grill will offer its annual Tax Day cocktail specials. Mention the word “deduction” to your server and you’ll get one of the bar’s signature cocktails for only $4.17. That includes the “Cocktails Sur Lie” take on a Mule. Sur lie is a French winemaking term that means “rested in yeast,” and Grant Grill’s sur lie cocktails—the brainchild of mixologist Jeff Josenhans—have been bottle-conditioned and fermented similar to beer and champagne.
And now, let’s raise a glass to Turbo Tax.