925 B Street, East Village
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
If there was any doubt that bartending and cocktail culture is becoming a community effort in San Diego, Chaplos bartender Bek Allen’s new namesake drinks she mixes behind her bar will put them to rest — bed-spins and all.
Each drink on the menu celebrates both the letter and spirits of San Diego’s mixed bag of neighborhoods — everything from Jayne’s Gastropub mixologist Sarah Ellis’s Normal Heights (rum, Pimm’s, lime juice, and Angostura Bitters) to Brooklyn Girl bartender Robert Yowel’s Mission Hills (gin, dry vermouth, lavender, and lemon bitters).
Speaking of Brooklyn girls, this one says she was inspired to put the menu together soon after switching coasts three years ago.
“When I moved to San Diego, I noticed all the cool signs in all the different boroughs and neighborhoods,” she explained. “I really wanted to utilize that in a cocktail menu and showcase the different restaurants or cocktail bars that were influential in the community…. I asked the different bartenders to showcase regulars’ favorite or something that compares to the neighborhood.”
For her addition to the alcoholic anthology, Allen makes a drink that honors the veritable moth flame of San Diego hospitality — the Gaslamp Quarter.
“I was toying around with a bunch of different recipes and stumbled on a spin off the Old Fashioned,” she says. “It’s a smooth drink, but I wouldn’t have more than three. I’ve seen people topple over.”
Customers keep coming back to the Lamp, Allen says, because it has an intricate combination of tastes.
“You definitely can taste the amaretto, but it’s not too sweet,” she says. “The Benedictine balances it out and gives some herbal notes to the drink. Then it also makes the Knob Creek smooth and brings out the oaky-ness.”
HOW TO MAKE IT
Pour into a stirring glass filled with ice:
- 2 oz. Knob Creek Bourbon
- ½ oz. amaretto liqueur
- ½ oz. Benedictine liqueur
Shake, strain into a rocks glass, garnish with an orange twist.