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Nate Howell Throws Down Killer Cocktails With A View

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Nate Howell by Candice Woo

Cusp Dining & Drinks isn't a place you just stumble upon; set back from a busy intersection, behind a gas station and 11 floors high atop Kimpton's Hotel La Jolla — it's a destination. But go during daylight hours and see why the panoramic ocean view is worth a gander; try a few drinks at the bar and taste a few more good reasons to make the effort.

Nate Howell, Cusp's Lead Bartender, is debuting his Spring 2013 bar menu tonight, adding 11 new carefully crafted drinks to the line-up. The Chicago-trained Howell, who placed second in this year's El Dorado Bartenders Challenge, told Eater that this collection of cocktails is his most playful yet.

He and fellow 'tender Chris Burkett have just launched their tableside Ramos Gin Fizz service, pouring soda water into the egg white froth to coax it into rising dramatically above the rim of the glass. A new drink called Bread Service combines malty Bols Genever with caraway-flavored aquavit and house made salt and pepper syrup; the effect is rye bread in liquid, boozy form.

Remember the Mayans incorporates Cynar, Howell's favorite sipper, "a perfect blend of bitter and sweet", with ginger syrup, tequila, lime, cucumber, sriracha and cilantro. A barrel-aged rum drink, The Grass is Always Greener, looks dark and foreboding in the glass, but layers of fresh mint, mint bitters and an extra minty version of Fernet keep it refreshing and clean, and thankfully not reminiscent of mouthwash. Howell, who sometimes pairs cocktails with dishes from Cusp's Exective Chef Donald Lockhart , says that he favors spirits like amaros, herbal digestifs, or barrel-aged bourbon and scotch, that can echo flavors found in food.
· Cusp Dining & Drinks [Official Site]
· All Menu Porn on Eater [~ESD~]

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Cusp Dining & Drinks

7955 La Jolla Shores Dr La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 551-3620