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Noble Experiment’s Latest Experiment

A new cocktail program introduces three cocktails each week


Noble Experiment, a speakeasy hidden inside downtown's Neighborhood.

I was sitting at the bar at Noble Experiment Wednesday evening and struck up a conversation with two engineers who were in town from Detroit. One was a cocktail fan who traveled often for work. He had four favorite bars, he said — Cure in New Orleans, The Violet Hour in Chicago, Sugar House in Detroit, and Noble Experiment.

There are so many great cocktail bars in San Diego that it’s tough to pick a favorite. But Noble Experiment never fails to impress me. Under lead bartender Andrew Cordero, they’re upping their game, introducing new techniques and three new cocktails each week to supplement the current classics / twist-on-classics menu rolled out last year.

The new weekly cocktails don’t have names — just Experiment #1, Experiment #2, and Experiment #3. The first will always be a lighter, more easy-drinking cocktail. The second will be slightly boozier, and the third will be more of a bartender’s choice-style cocktail.

This week’s menu, available through Sunday, is worth a trip. (And, if you miss it, just ask if they’ll make you a cocktail from the December 5-10 menu.)

Experiment #1 includes mezcal, apple brandy, honey, fresh ginger, lemon, and a Douglas fir eau de vie float. I was a bit wary of the Douglas fir eau de vie — but this was the cocktail that impressed me the most. The flavors combined perfectly. The eau de vie was subtle and there was a nice bite from the fresh ginger to complement the mezcal’s smokiness.

Noble Experiment's eggnog-inspired cocktail, Experiment #2. | Photo: Shannon Partrick

My favorite was Experiment #2. Made with rum, Armagnac, Madeira, egg, and a really nice yam-and-pecan cordial by bartender Anthony Rhoer, it’s a sophisticated, nuanced take on spiked eggnog. If you order one, you’ll order another — and you’ll tell everyone around you to order one, too.

For Experiment #3, Cordero said the goal was a fruit-forward Manhattan variation (it’s served with a bite-sized piece of fruitcake). Made with rye whiskey, a fruit-and-almond-infused red vermouth, cream sherry, and plum eau de vie, it’s a perfect holiday cocktail. 

There’ll be three new cocktails each week leading up to Christmas and all 12 December cocktails will be available on a special menu December 26 through 30. After the new year, the three new weekly cocktails continue through spring, Cordero said, with an emphasis on seasonal flavors and unusual approaches.

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