It’s no secret that La Jolla has some of the best restaurants in San Diego – even the country, for that matter. But gastronomic excellence around here doesn’t stop at food. We got a bevy of cocktails made with top-shelf liquor, exotic ingredients and a touch of genius, suited to any occasion – from Happy Hour, to casual lunches and big nights out on the town. And because there are so many great spots to choose from, competition is stiff – the restaurants and bars separate themselves by making cocktails you won’t find anywhere else. So if you’re looking for a saucy drink to spice up your outing, here are eight of the most unique cocktails you’ll find in La Jolla.
George’s at the Cove’s The Skinny
You’ve heard of a skinny latte, but how about a skinny cocktail? George’s at the Cove doesn’t want you to choose between your diet and a premium cocktail. Their local favorite, The Skinny, is the perfect solution, made from real strawberries, kiwi agave nectar and Absolut vodka. There’s no artificial ingredients or funky-tasting sweeteners – it’s a pure, 120 calorie fruit blast with a sharp edge.
This cocktail has been a favorite on the menu for three years and was created by the General Manager for George’s Bar, who wanted to make a guilt-free drink that still tasted great. As George’s also has an unbeatable Ocean View in La Jolla that makes the drinks taste even better.
Café Japengo’s Old Vick
Balsamic vinegar is common in a salad, but a cocktail? Not so much. Yet Café Japengo has given a unique twist to their Old Vick cocktail by mixing in balsamic vinegar with Beefeater gin, strawberry puree, and prosecco. Try the cocktail with one of Café Japengo’s delicious sushi rolls and prepare to have your perceptions altered.
Beaumont’s ‘Don’t You Judge Me’
Cocktails before noon are a guilty pleasure and Bird Rock based restaurant, Beaumont’s, knows this better than anybody. Their morning mix of Kettle One Citron and Champagne is aptly named, ‘Don’t You Judge Me’ – a fun and unique moniker to a leisurely morning cocktail.
The ‘SO GOOD IT’S GONE’ cocktail: Nine-Ten’s Frankenjack
Nine-Ten has always been at the forefront of trends and now they’re embracing the ‘Mad Men’ vibe with their retro collection of cocktails. Try the Frankenjack, which is made from alcohol aged onsite for 100 days in barrels. The cocktail is named after two proprietors of a New York speakeasy and consists of prime ingredients: St. George gin, Cointreau, dry Vermouth, and Apricot brandy. And since Nine-Ten is unique in that it’s one of the best San Diego restaurants located within a La Jolla hotel, if you happen to be staying at the Grande Colonial hotel, you can enjoy all the more and simply head upstairs when it’s time to rest!
Summer Haines, the Food and Beverage Manager for Nine-Ten, said that a lot of planning went into creating this special drink: “In celebration of our centennial, we launched a beverage program of barrel aged cocktails. Levi Walker, Craft Spirit Manager with Young’s Market, consulted on the launch of the program and helped us attain the barrels. We researched cocktails from different eras to compose a list of ageable concoctions with a variety of spirits as the base. The barrels help to integrate the flavors together and add viscosity and a slight vanilla sweetness.” The Frankenjack is a seasonal drink at Nine-Ten and was so popular the barrel quickly ran out, though Nine-Ten is planning on making repeat appearance of the drink.
Cusp Restaurant’s Ron Burgundy
La Jolla is in San Diego…and San Diego is close to Hollywood…so it’s not surprising that somebody names a cocktail after Ron Burgundy here. Cusp Restaurant is very inventive with its drinks menu, thanks to their in-house mixologist, and the Ron Burgundy serves up grouse liquor mixed in with demerara syrup and grapefruit, peach, and orange bitters, served on the rocks. One giant rock to be exact. It’ll have you quoting Anchorman all day and night long.
Whisknladle’s The Julian
The Whisknladle serves a mean Fall cocktail: the Julian. Made from apple cider with cinnamon- and rosemary-infused bourbon, this is one cocktail that will make you want to cuddle up in a sweater no matter what the temperature is outside – not that we have too much to complain about in La Jolla. And best of all, the restaurant hosts a sensational happy hour in La Jolla so that we all can enjoy at discounted prices.
Amaya La Jolla’s La Jolla Martini
Amaya La Jolla uses the freshest ingredients in their food and drinks, which adds some unique spice to their La Jolla Martini in the form of onions and dill. Amaya’s signature martini is also created with Grey Goose vodka, Noilly Prat Dry, cucumber, and Serrano.
Barfly’s La Jolla Lemonade
The Barfly’s La Jolla Lemonade is the perfect way to end a long, hot day on the beach. This cocktail has a base of Stoli Raspberry, mixed in with lemonade and triple sec, sealed by a floating layer of Chambord, adding a sophisticated vibe to the drink.
Next time you’re planning where to meet up with friends or for a date night, don’t just look at the food menu item – check out the cocktail menu. You may be pleasantly surprised with some of the unique options you’ll discover. And check back here soon to find more unique and fun local information courtesy of La Jolla Blue Book.