Edit ModuleShow Tags

New Menu at Hundred Proof is ‘A Preview of What’s to Come’

Stephen Kurpinsky has big plans for the University Heights bar


Published:

Stephen Kurpinsky behind the bar at Hundred Proof | Photo by Kelly Davis

It’s a Tuesday afternoon in early September, and Stephen Kurpinsky’s deftly peeling large slices of lemon rind that’ll he’ll to use to make an oleo saccharum, the magical ingredient that is to cocktails what a good broth is to soups. It’s his second day on the job as beverage manager at University Heights bar and restaurant Hundred Proof.

A few weeks earlier, Kurpinsky had announced he was leaving George’s at the Cove to take the new gig. It was one of the more surprising moves in the San Diego bartending scene—in the five years he was there, Kurpinksy transformed the La Jolla restaurant’s cocktail program and made its Level 2 bar a craft cocktail destination. Each month, he brought in guest bartenders from San Diego, Tijuana, and beyond to create special menus for their monthly Craft at the Cove events. And, with the help of colleague Sam Peters, last December Kurpinksy introduced an ambitious 23-cocktail menu inspired by San Diego neighborhoods that was presented as a glossy, hardbound coffee table book.

Kurpinsky says that after five years at George’s, it was time for something new.

Hundred Proof’s sister restaurant, Trust, opened with an impressive cocktail menu, but HP never really gained solid footing.

Kurpinsky embraced the idea of overhauling Hundred Proof’s cocktail program. Right off the bat, he rolled out four cereal-inspired brunch cocktails: Cinnamon Toast Punch, Fruit Loop Fizz, Rice Tikis, and the Crunch Berry Clover Club, a twist on the classic made with Arizona Distilling Commerce Gin, lemon, Crunch Berry Cordial (raspberries and Crunch Berries cereal) and egg white. Last Thursday, he introduced a new menu. Kurpinsky says he was aiming for something approachable, yet “complex and interesting.” Highlights include the Sonora Smash, made with carrot and lemon juice, mint, ginger, honey, Sichuan pepper, and newcomer Ōme Spirits’ excellent Bacanora. The Seasonal Old Fashioned gets its fall flavors from smoked black pepper and baked apple bitters. And for something more adventurous, try the French Colada, made with Château Arton Unaged Armagnac (“I love using it in cocktails that usually call for a funky, or agricole rhum,” Kurpinsky says), lime, coconut cream, pineapple, absinthe, and bubbles.

Hundred Proof's Cinnamon Toast Punch cocktail | Photo by Stephen Kurpinsky

“The menu is really a preview of what’s to come at Hundred Proof,” he says. “We’re already working on something much larger and unique, but the style and creative direction seen on this menu is absolutely where we’re headed.”

Kurpinsky’s also scheduled a lineup of events. Monday, October 15, he hosted Gaby Mlynarczyk for a signing of her new book, Clean + Dirty Drinking, and a guest shift. On October 22, he’ll be joined by Polite Provisions’ Erick Castro. And on October 29, he’s collaborating with Brooke Arthur and Erin Haynes of House Spirits for a Halloween-themed menu.

As for George’s, Kurpinsky says he’s confident they’ll continue what he started, with general manager/bar manager Sam Peters taking the helm.

“That’s my reputation, too, that’s my family,” he says. “It’s important to me that they do well. I wouldn’t have left if I didn’t feel they had it.”

Peters says he plans to continue Craft at the Cove. On Tuesday, October 23, he’s bringing in Campari America’s Joshua Carlos for a guest bartending shift featuring Espolòn tequila cocktails. And Peters says he’s working with his team on a new concept menu, due to launch in November, that will showcase regional botanicals. He said the book will include historical content and “the value and reasoning behind using culinary products and methods in our cocktail builds.”


SD Sips is back from a brief hiatus and ready to get our drink on. Email tips, recommendations, openings, and events.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

It's All About the Kids and the San Diego Center for Children Receive Grants for Important Programs

Plus the Chicano Federation is gearing up to celebrate 50 years

The Best Soup Dumplings in San Diego

My hunt for the best xiao long bao in the city unearthed two surprising winners

What Inspires California’s Young Playwrights? Faith, Family...and Trash

The annual Playwrights Project contest winners grapple with identity and take a dumpster dive into existentialism
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Questions Answered about Botox

Avalon Laser demystifies Botox myths and explains procedures

Win Tickets to the 41st Annual SDCCU Holiday Bowl

This year’s Utah vs. Northwestern match-up marks the Holiday Bowl’s second straight paring of teams that are ranked nationally in the top 25
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. San Diego Magazine's Travel Awards 2019
    Cast your vote now for your favorite hotels, travel companies, and attractions
  2. Best Restaurants in San Diego: 2018
    San Diego's top restaurant owners, chefs, and bartenders name their favorite San Diego restaurants of 2018.
  3. Winter is Waiting in Montana’s Yellowstone Country
    Win a trip for two that includes roundtrip airfare from Long Beach and a stay at the Element by Westin in Bozeman, Montana
  4. First Look: Realm of 52 Remedies
    Wildly imaginative speakeasy cements the arrival of design to San Diego’s Asian food haven
  5. The Women Who Revolutionized San Diego's Food Scene
    A discussion with six iconic San Diego chefs and restauranteurs who helped make our culinary landscape what it is today
  6. 73 Must-Try Desserts in San Diego
    ’Tis the season for cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, profiteroles, and other sweet treats—just don’t tell your dentist to send us the bill
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module