George’s at the Cove’s Level2

Posted on May 10, 2019

Fresh off the heels of a big staff change which saw well-loved spirits director Stephen Kurpinksy depart for Trust restaurant group, La Jolla staple George’s at the Cove’s Level2 bar is just about to release its latest concept menu. Entitled “Floras of San Diego,” this second volume will also include a cocktail book release just as it did for its first concept menu and book, “Neighborhoods of San Diego,” which debuted in December 2017. “Floras of San Diego” will explore the city’s plant life and chronicle 24 new cocktails inspired by it.

Level2’s general manager and bar director Sam Peters, who has been in charge of the bar since 2016, explains that San Diego is a creative resource for him and his team.

“Our inspiration has always been San Diego,” Peters says. “As a restaurant [and bar], we strive to showcase San Diego and its beauty through high-end products that grow locally or in Southern California. We really try to step out of our comfort zone and create a menu not only unique to San Diego, but that shows the bar industry’s growth and direction year over year.”

George’s at the Cove’s Level2

El Nopales

Peters also notes that San Diego’s unique climate is a barkeep’s dream. There are so many products and ingredients that easily grow in the area, including those San Diegans consume on a daily basis. Tying that into the menu and book, Peters and his team also offer instructions on how to forage for cocktail ingredients, turning “something from your backyard flora into a delicious libation,” he says.

For Peters, the book and menu highlights lie within the modernist touches to what otherwise might be considered classic cocktails. “For example, take our Fennel Colada,” he explains. “This cocktail was created as a very approachable bridge into cocktailing culture. Derived from the traditional tropical classic rum, pineapple, and coconut; we add Pernod Absinthe and Moët Champagne to create dimensions of flavors while maintaining a simplicity that everyone can enjoy.”

George’s at the Cove’s Level2

Fennel Colada

For fans of the first volume, how will “Floras of San Diego” differ? Rather than merely showcasing and investigating, it seems it will be particularly useful for adventurous home cooks and bartenders.

“Volume two shows the evolution of concept created in Level2,” Peters says. “The ‘Neighborhoods’ menu was created to showcase the culturally rich sub-cities San Diego has, whereas the ‘Flora’ menu is here to show how culinary staples can be used in cocktail creations. This menu gives insight to where we forage our natural resources and how they can be constructed for cocktail use.”

Though an official date for the book and menu release has not been finalized at press time, guests and fans can expect it to become a reality sometime in late April or May. 858.454.4244, georgesatthecove.com/level2   Jackie Bryant

George’s at the Cove’s Level2

Hopped Whisky Sour

Photography courtesy of George’s at the Cove’s Level2