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6 Highlights from The Hake’s New Cocktail Menu

The La Jolla restaurant’s got a stunning new view with cocktails to match


The Naima is The Hake's twist on a Negroni. | Photo: Sam Wells

Not that The Hake doesn’t have great food—at least that’s what I’ve been told. But at a recent gathering to celebrate the La Jolla restaurant’s post-remodel reopening, I didn’t get much farther than the bar area—such was the allure of The Hake’s new cocktail menu.

As I’m writing this, the menu is eight drinks long. Wait about a week and you’ll be treated to a 27-item cocktail menu that’s inventive and approachable, dreamed up by bar manager Joan Villanueva. (And fans of Andrew Larson—whom I chatted with when he was at The Nolen—can find him behind the bar at The Hake.)

Here are six highlights from the new menu:

The T.A.K.

The T.A.K. | Photo: Sam Wells

Like tequila and mezcal? You’ll dig sotol, an earthy, Mexican spirit distilled in Chihuahua.

The T.A.K., Villanueva’s favorite cocktail on the new menu, has sotol as its base, a house-made sage cordial, pineapple and lime juices, and agave syrup. Think of it as a margarita’s more elegant cousin.

The Naima

I really enjoyed this nuanced twist on a Negroni, made with tequila, Cynar, Dolin Rouge vermouth, Grand Marnier, and Aperol, served in a highball glass that’s been given a good spritz of Fernet.

The Wild World

Gin fans will dig this spirit-forward cocktail made with Botanist gin, Elation Nectar de Poire liqueur—which adds a lovely, delicate sweetness—Boy Drinks World walnut bitters, and garnished with a dried chrysanthemum.

The View

This take on a classic gin-and-tonic got its name from all the folks who’d walk into The Hake, pre-renovation, and ask if they had “a view” (they didn’t). The base is Ford’s gin that’s been fat-washed with olive oil, which gives the cocktail a silky texture. A brown-sugar and cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, and Fever Tree tonic round things out.

Emperor’s Tea

I first encountered Zubrowka vodka, a Polish vodka distilled with an herbal-flavored grass, in Starlite’s Belarus. Villanueva used the vodka’s woodsy sweetness as inspiration for this light, easy-drinker that includes chrysanthemum-tea syrup, lemon juice, and apple juice.

Spice Embargo

The star of this cocktail is a tasty kalamansi syrup, made from the Filipino fruit that’s a mash-up of a lime, lemon, and tangerine. Appleton Estate Rum and passion fruit bitters turn the cocktail into a spiced take on an Old Fashioned.

Got suggestions for a future post? Write to 2kellydavis@gmail.com.

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