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Whaling Bar & Grill

1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla

(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)

According to the Whaling Bar & Grill’s bar manager Scotty Moises, the establishment took its name when it opened in the early 1950s from the mural that hangs over the bar, The Whale’s Last Stand.

Depicting a typical mid-19th-century scene of profitable carnage on the deeps — replete with harpooned whales and stove boats — the mural was painted, Moises says, by Wing Howard as part of a series that helped define the hotel’s decor. Moises says Howard executed the murals — including both bucolic and Parisian landscapes — in exchange for a free stay at the hotel.

“Over the bar, he originally painted a mural of nude women gallivanting around a garden with men peeping over bushes, and I guess it was way too risqué at the time,” he says. “So he came back and painted this whaling mural.”

Patrons can still find titillation enough for the senses in a menu of classic cocktails rounded out with that scion of the American repertoire, the Sazerac.

“As you bring the glass to your nose, you’ll have the fragrance of anise from the wash in the glass — with a hint of citrus in there — and you’ll taste the full body of the rye,” Moises says of the Whaling Bar’s Sazerac. “The simple syrup and Peychaud’s definitely cut the whiskey bite a bit, leaving a nice even flavor across your tongue. Depending on what whiskey you’re using, you’ll get a different taste. The rye we use — Bulleit — has a caramel flavor to it.”

Kitchen Proof: A pleasant assault on the senses, the citrus and anise take hold of the rye and haul up a rich, mellow flavor.

How to make it:

In a glass shaker filled with ice, pour:

  • 3 oz. Bulleit Rye whiskey
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake ingredients “at least 20 times,” let sit, and wash interior of a chilled martini glass with splash of Herbsaint anise liqueur, pour out excess. Pour contents of shaker through a strainer into glass, twist a lemon-peel garnish over the cocktail’s surface, and sip away.

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