Edit ModuleShow Tags

Kearny Mesa's Hive Serves up an Impressive Drink Menu

Ram Udwin’s tiki drinks help make the mega-restaurant a surprising cocktail destination


Ram Udwin, behind the bar at Hive. | Photo: Kelly Davis

At first glance, you might not consider Hive to be a craft cocktail destination. It’s in Kearny Mesa’s Convoy District, an area known more for its food than cocktails. Located in a large, warehouse-like space next to Chorus Karaoke & Bar, Hive is a self-described “mega-restaurant” designed to appeal to the nightlife crowd. But on a recent Sunday, in the quietest corner of the bar, separated from the din by shelves of rum he'd hand-selected, Ram Udwin was serving some pretty amazing tiki cocktails.

Udwin, the guy behind the Boy Drinks World line of cocktail bitters and spices, is working with bar manager Jay Choi, a former Glenfiddich ambassador, to introduce craft cocktails to the Convoy crowd. A cornerstone of the menu are Choi’s barrel-aged cocktails — including two Old Fashioneds (one made with Old Forrester and one made with Woodford Reserve rye), a Vieux Carre, and a Mint Julep — designed to be served quickly when Hive is busy without sacrificing quality. The cocktails are pre-made and aged in oak barrels for two to three weeks, then bottled. Bartenders just need to grab the appropriate glassware from the refrigerator (pre-filled with the correct type of ice), pour, stir, garnish, and serve. Choi’s favorite is the Rusty Nail, a mildly sweet, warm-and-rich blend of Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Drambuie, local honey, and spices.

Udwin’s expertise is tiki cocktails and on Sunday, May 7, starting at 5 p.m., he’ll be serving a special menu of four of his creations to celebrate Hive’s grand-opening weekend (the restaurant’s been in soft-opening mode since March). You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu — Udwin’s cocktails achieve that ethereal quality that tiki aficionados seek out. If you like a more traditional tiki drink, try the Plan Killer, a take on a Pain Killer, made with Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof and Corruba Dark rums, coconut, housemade grenadine syrup, Donn’s mix, and Boy Drinks World passion fruit bitters.

Udwin's Up A Creek cocktail. | Photo: Kelly Davis

There’s also the tart, summer-y Up A Creek, served with a paddle and made with Pusser’s rum, passion fruit bitters, a housemade sauvignon blanc syrup, and lemon. The SPF 2001 (passion fruit bitters and coconut fat-washed Pusser’s rum) is topped with a lovely passion fruit foam. And the Captain Pepper’s Grog has a nice bit of heat from Boy Drinks World's serrano cocktail spice.

Choi and Udwin didn't know each other before they started working together, but have been sharing knowledge from each other’s areas of expertise to create an impressive menu. “He’s been killing it,” Choi said. Udwin plans to do more specialty menus for Sundays at Hive — either tiki or rum-focused and served in the more intimate setting of Hive’s back bar — and hopes to add an educational component to Tuesday evenings by bringing in some of his favorite distillers. To keep up on the schedule, follow Boy Drinks World on Facebook or Instagram.

Got a suggestion for a future post? Email me.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Mother Earth Brew Co. Adds Wine and Food to Its Portfolio

The newly opened Mother’s Provisions brings wine, cheese, and charcuterie to downtown Vista

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Whiskey

Aero Bar’s Sean O’Connell offers his picks, plus our roundup of holiday cocktails

Big Things Are Happening at Prohibition

The speakeasy-style bar launches a supper club, new menu, and a March 13 ‘fire sale’
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle

Buy a Raffle Ticket, Win This Rare Sports Car

Donate to a good cause to seriously upgrade your ride
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2018
    From burritos to bottomless mimosas, you choose San Diego’s best eats and drinks in 90 categories
  2. 15 Coolest Jobs in San Diego and How to Get Them
    We asked 15 San Diego professionals with the coolest jobs in town how they landed their gigs—and how we could steal them
  3. First Look: Cloak & Petal
    The owners of Tajima bring Japanese small plates to Little Italy with Cloak & Petal
  4. 31 Best Places to Live in San Diego
    Five local homeowners share their advice, tips, and tricks on how they sealed the deal
  5. Green Rush: Inside San Diego's Emerging Cannabis Industry
    Marijuana's legal. How did it go from evil death drug to medical miracle and billion-dollar industry?
  6. First Look: Bivouac Ciderworks
    A new craft cidery opens in North Park, designed for the outdoors person in all of us
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module