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Five New Must-Try Cocktail Menus in San Diego

Here are your drinking orders.

Noble Experiment
Noble Experiment
Arlene Ibarra

It’s finally Friday, which means it’s almost time to clock-off and get those weekend vibes started. No plans yet? No problem! We're rounding off our Cocktail Week 2015 coverage with an exciting preview of brand spanking new cocktail menus and seasonal additions from some of the city’s finest adult beverage purveyors. Whether you're a fan of the old classics or prefer something a little more off the cuff, get a helping hand in your drinking destination decision-making ––and make the most of that well-earned downtime–- with these hot new cocktails available around town.

Six Core Classics: Noble Experiment

Noble Experiment

In honor of Noble’s upcoming sixth anniversary, Trevor Easter and the team recently unveiled a swanky new menu at the award-winning speakeasy. Catering to both the cocktail novice and seasoned pro, the tightly tailored lineup showcases the stalwart Dealers Choice option plus six classics: Old Fashioned, Tom Collins, Margarita, Buck, Gimlet, and El Presidente with a contemporary alternative listed alongside. Aimed at enabling guests to identify with a familiar name ––and assume the seasonal version shares similar characteristics–– the menu concept is designed to incite risk-taking with questions strongly encouraged. A noteworthy mention includes Adele Stratton’s margarita adaptation, the mezcal-based Fly Catcher (watermelon, lime, Campari, orgeat, salt). The drink is shaken with watermelon frozen into ice cubes; a unique process that minimizes dilution thereby preserving a rich watermelon flavor that would otherwise be lost. And, while it may only boast two ingredients, don’t let the classic Gimlet (gin, lime cordial) fool you. Originally developed to provide sailors with vitamin C, Noble has adopted the 200-year old tradition of producing a shelf-stable lime cordial with their botanical-infused creation ––cardamom and coriander were added during the heating process to help boost the lime flavor and marry it with the gin. The eye-catching new menu itself also deserves a nod; created by Dane Danner at Clove St. Press, its old-school letterpress technique and gold accents tie in with the bars’ lavish décor; with each guest receiving one in an individually wax-sealed envelope. 777 G St. (619) 888-4713

[photo: Arlene Ibarra]

Space Shuttle: The Lion's Share

Lion's Share Fall Cocktails

From concept to release, the ambitious new menu at Has Mahmood and Roy Ledo's respected craft cocktail lounge/restaurant has been six months in the making. Bar manager David Tye and his team edited their former menu down to 14 of their top sellers and added 37 new offerings to create a grand total of 51 cocktails covering 115 unique ingredients. The comprehensive menu offers something for everyone, from die-hard spirit enthusiasts to cocktail newbies; laid out into a large and easy to navigate grid, guests can scan spirit categories –– whisky, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, vodka, sparkling cocktails –– which are further broken down into four classifications: House Favorites, Deep Cut Classics, Safe Bets, and Research and Development. Three standouts include the rum-based Greedy Hands (Nicaraguan rum, guava, lime, agave, cream, peach bitters), The Slackjaw (rye, Mandarin Napoleon, Laphroiag, lemon, orange bitters, salt) and the Space Shuttle (Venezuelan Rum, Old Harbor BarrelFlag Navy Strength Rum, pineapple, passion fruit, lime, absinthe, Jamaican bitters). Expect to see local spirits from Kill Devil, Henebery, Old Harbor Distilling Co. and R&D Bitters on the menu, which is officially slated for release on Monday, November 2. 629 Kettner Blvd. (619) 564-6924

[photo: Jon Blaj]

Cuban Club: Kettner Exchange

Kettner Exchange Courtesy photo

Known for his unique and forward-thinking cocktail programs, bar manager Steven Tuttle’s creativity shines again with four new additions to Kettner's expansive drinks list. Trained under NYC greats Sam Ross (Milk & Honey, Attaboy) and Phil Ward (Death & Company, Mayahuel), Tuttle’s seasonal libations include two rye-based cocktails: the autumnal American Werewolf (rye whiskey, apple brandy, allspice, demerara and orange bitters); and the Halloween-centric Jack O'Lantern, again made with rye whiskey and apple brandy, but with the bitter-caramel of Averno Averna offsetting lemon, cinnamon, and allspice. On a lighter note the Cuban Club features a delicate blend of Cuban style white rum, lemon, pomegranate, with a heady dash of Absinthe; while the Bitter Giuseppe (Cynar, Sweet Vermouth, lemon, orange bitters, salt) is rich and boozy, with a touch of citrusy sweetness balanced by a nice bitter finish. 2001 Kettner Blvd. (619) 255-2001

[photo: Andy Jorgensen]

The Maverick: Jsix

Jsix Fall Cocktails

Combining a classic approach with timeless techniques, head bartender Chris Burkett has whipped up 11 enticing cocktails for his new fall menu at this buzzy East Village eatery. Balanced and ingredient-focused as always, standouts include The Maverick (Grey Goose, Cocchi Americano, lemon, rosemary raspberry syrup, topped with Saint Archer White Ale); and Between The Bars, an after dinner appropriate blend of Pierre Ferrand 1840, cold brew coffee, maple syrup, a layer of Jerry Thomas Bitters and cream. Imbibers can also help support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by ordering a special Red Leopard cocktail ($12). A blend of Snow Leopard Vodka, fortified wine, raspberry and rosemary syrups, fresh lemon and Belgium-style ale, Jsix will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the drink to LLS through the end of October. 616 J St. (619) 531-8744

[photo: Jsix]

Nazca Sour: Saltbox

Jsix Fall Cocktails

Designed by lead bartender Joe BailinHotel Palomar’s chic gastro-lounge recently launched its brand new fall cocktail list. Featuring ten new tipples (all priced at $12) the menu opens with the gin-based Mr. November (Aviation Gin, Lillet Rouge, blueberry, sage, lemon juice, Fernet Branca, cinnamon), and concludes with the exotic Nazca Sour Pisco, Luxardo Maraschino, pistachio orgeat, lemon/lime juice, and egg white. In between you will find a selection of predominantly rum, tequila, and whiskey-focused beverages, of which The Thoroughbred Club (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Grand Poppy Liquor, pink peppercorn honey, orange blossom and grapefruit juice), and Capone (Dickel Rye, balsamic reduction, basil, ginger beer) are two noteworthy choices. 1047 5th Ave. (619) 515-3003

[photo: Saltbox]

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