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George’s at the Cove’s Curioso: a subtle, tiki-inspired play off of Curious George

The restaurant’s signature “super juice” adds acidity.

Curioso
Curioso
Mike Grave

It’s a fine day for sipping cocktails cliffside in La Jolla. (But then, most days are.) Mike Grave, General Manager for George’s at the Cove, slides me a new concoction called the Curioso. “The recipe was actually put together by one of my bartenders, Mitchell Lynes,” says Grave. “I asked him to come up with a fun tiki-inspired drink with mezcal. It’s a subtle play off of Curious George, with the banana liqueur in there.”

What’s unique about it is the layering. “I think it’s a super interesting combination of flavors that work really well together,” continues Grave. “It changes subtly every time you take a sip, and you’re getting different flavor notes. And it’s kind of ‘curious’ how the different flavors work to complement each other.”

The aim was more for fruity than in-your-face. “Definitely, you’re going to taste that presence of mezcal, but we really lighten it up with the tropical flavors of banana and pineapple as the primary flavor points,” says Grave. “And the other ingredients are more like the spices, between the coffee liqueur and the falernum. And even the lime juice is gonna help balance that cocktail out, because everything else is sweet.”


Grave does think you should be able to sip a mezcal neat before putting it in a cocktail. “I love mezcal, but it has a dominant character, so we’re using a product that still has some of that character that shines through.” He praises a small batch mezcal by the name of Catedral. “It was founded by a father-daughter duo from San Francisco, and they’ve won a few different awards over the last year. I think Catedral does a nice balance of, certainly a smoky presence to the spirit, but also a little sweetness. And some good minerality, too.”

The restaurant’s signature “super juice” adds acidity. “We have this technique of using water and citric acid to extract flavor from the peels, and we add freshly squeezed juice before straining to create the finished product. You end up with a shelf-stable product… and your yield is a lot more because you’re using the whole fruit, so there’s less waste.”

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The recipe also calls for Velvet Falernum, a Caribbean liqueur with “notes of clove, cinnamon and allspice. It doesn’t taste like anything else you’ve had.” Plus, Mr Black’s coffee liqueur, which has “a nice richness to it, a little bit of sweetness...some caramel, almost burnt sugar flavor to it as well.”

As he talks, I start to count the number of liqueurs listed. “It’s probably a little more boozy than it tastes, pretty typical of tiki drinks,” he allows. “It drinks very punchy and fruity and juice-like. And then you’re wondering why you’re stumbling.”

George's at the Cove

George’s at the Cove’s

Curioso

  • 1 oz Catedral Mezcal
  • 0.75 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 0.5 oz banana liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Mr. Black coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a tin with ice and shake vigorously. Strain and pour over fresh ice. Garnish with several sprigs of mint.

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Curioso
Curioso
Mike Grave

It’s a fine day for sipping cocktails cliffside in La Jolla. (But then, most days are.) Mike Grave, General Manager for George’s at the Cove, slides me a new concoction called the Curioso. “The recipe was actually put together by one of my bartenders, Mitchell Lynes,” says Grave. “I asked him to come up with a fun tiki-inspired drink with mezcal. It’s a subtle play off of Curious George, with the banana liqueur in there.”

What’s unique about it is the layering. “I think it’s a super interesting combination of flavors that work really well together,” continues Grave. “It changes subtly every time you take a sip, and you’re getting different flavor notes. And it’s kind of ‘curious’ how the different flavors work to complement each other.”

The aim was more for fruity than in-your-face. “Definitely, you’re going to taste that presence of mezcal, but we really lighten it up with the tropical flavors of banana and pineapple as the primary flavor points,” says Grave. “And the other ingredients are more like the spices, between the coffee liqueur and the falernum. And even the lime juice is gonna help balance that cocktail out, because everything else is sweet.”


Grave does think you should be able to sip a mezcal neat before putting it in a cocktail. “I love mezcal, but it has a dominant character, so we’re using a product that still has some of that character that shines through.” He praises a small batch mezcal by the name of Catedral. “It was founded by a father-daughter duo from San Francisco, and they’ve won a few different awards over the last year. I think Catedral does a nice balance of, certainly a smoky presence to the spirit, but also a little sweetness. And some good minerality, too.”

The restaurant’s signature “super juice” adds acidity. “We have this technique of using water and citric acid to extract flavor from the peels, and we add freshly squeezed juice before straining to create the finished product. You end up with a shelf-stable product… and your yield is a lot more because you’re using the whole fruit, so there’s less waste.”

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The recipe also calls for Velvet Falernum, a Caribbean liqueur with “notes of clove, cinnamon and allspice. It doesn’t taste like anything else you’ve had.” Plus, Mr Black’s coffee liqueur, which has “a nice richness to it, a little bit of sweetness...some caramel, almost burnt sugar flavor to it as well.”

As he talks, I start to count the number of liqueurs listed. “It’s probably a little more boozy than it tastes, pretty typical of tiki drinks,” he allows. “It drinks very punchy and fruity and juice-like. And then you’re wondering why you’re stumbling.”

George's at the Cove

George’s at the Cove’s

Curioso

  • 1 oz Catedral Mezcal
  • 0.75 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 0.5 oz banana liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Mr. Black coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a tin with ice and shake vigorously. Strain and pour over fresh ice. Garnish with several sprigs of mint.

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The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

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