Edible flowers were the starting point for the new list of seasonal cocktails at Grant Grill (326 Broadway, Downtown), but when mixologist Jeff Josenhans set out to begin experimenting, he accidentally looked at the wrong (read: inedible) list of flowers.
“So, I ended up eating a poisonous flower,” Josenhans laughed. “My entire mouth went numb.”
Josenhans is the man behind Grant Grill's Centennial Manhattan, a 100-day, barrel-aged cocktail that's as smooth as it is strong, and he's a driving force behind the newly formed San Diego Chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild, which hosted its kick-off event on Sunday in the ballroom of the U.S. Grant Hotel.
The seasonal cocktails he eventually came up with are creative and tasty, and the drinks smell damn good, too. I tried the Libation Lilac, made of lilac-infused Tanqueray vodka, parfait amour, fresh lime, lavender bitters and egg whites— and my nostrils got just as much pleasure as my taste buds. On Friday, April 15, Josenhans will release his new menu to the public in a Tax Day Celebration, when the drinks will be $4.15 rather than the normal $12.
Last Monday, The Hopping Pig (734 Fifth Ave., Downtown) posted an update on its Facebook page that I couldn't resist—“Chocolate Bakon Martini, $6.” The Pig is relatively new (it took over the building where Aqua Blu used to be), and it seems to be targeting the Uptown hipster crowd. The Chocolate Bakon Martini was more Hershey's bar than it was Miss Piggy, but good nonetheless.
Family Night at El Dorado (1030 Broadway, Downtown) is home to some of the best craft-cocktail deals in town. Every Tuesday, the bar features a different “cocktail family” and lets you sample 'em for $5 a pop. Enjoy live jazz and live-art displays on Tuesday nights, too. I went when the bartenders were experimenting with different takes on the classic Moscow Mule and had a delicious Dark & Stormy (dark rum, lime and ginger beer).
And, in honor of our Food Issue, try pairing the good-looking, great-tasting food at Alchemy (1503 30th St., South Park), with one of the restaurant's savory craft cocktails. If you, like I do, secretly drink pickle juice every now and then, try out the Dirty Pickle (vodka, pickle juice and cornichon).