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Grant Grill’s New Cocktail Menu Includes Unexpected Ingredients

Cory Alberto takes a culinary approach to the aviation-themed cocktails


Cory Alberto's Seawell cocktail is an homage to the legendary Barbados airport.

Cory Alberto’s title at Grant Grill is “Chef de Bar.” Some folks might find it a bit pretentious — but only until they try one of Alberto’s inventive cocktails, which have included everything from mascarpone cheese to smoked paprika oil to black truffle caviar. His last several menus have had a theme; his latest focuses on aviation history, honoring legendary flyers (Los Hermanos Aldasoro), flying machines (Fokker G1), and destinations (Seawell 1938). I had a quick chat with him recently about the new menu.

What inspired you to do an aviation-themed menu?

We always do a themed seasonal cocktail menu. With this menu, it just made sense for summer in San Diego. Summer, blue skies, etc.

There are six cocktails on the menu. Is there one that set the tone?

I’d say Top Gun set the tone for the menu. It’s a really fun display and definitely unique and tasty — plus a great tie to San Diego.

The G-6 cocktail includes spot prawn fumé and black truffle caviar. And the Fokker G.I. includes cream cheese and whole-grain mustard seed syrup (along with Bols Genever, strawberry rhubarb shrub, and essence of pepper and oak). First, please explain “spot prawn fumé.”

A “fumé” (foo-may) is a classic French culinary technique. Basically what we are doing is creating a shellfish stock from lobster, shrimp, and spot prawns. After that it is seasoned and reduced, then rapidly infused into corn oil using nitrogen in a contained cylinder.

Where did these ideas come from?

The G-6 includes spot prawn fumé and black truffle caviar.

We carefully plan these ideas out. We always want to encourage locality and also worldly obscurity. I think we offer anything for anyone, explorative or not.

What’s the most approachable cocktail on the menu?

Probably the Seawell 1938 (Mount Gay rum, nectarine, Domaine Santé Rouge, lemon, ginger beer, crushed ice, and vapor of dried tea and flowers), a cocktail inspired by the island and rustic land strip in Barbados. It is highly approachable, refreshing, and pretty.

Which one will cocktail geeks appreciate?

This is a tough answer. I’m a geek and I love the Lindbergh Field (Cutwater gin, aloe liqueur, lemon, Domaine Santé AL’s-Ass, hop soda water, and ale foam). I think for people who want something over the top, complex, and way different, it’s the G-6 (Remy 1736, Grand Marnier 100, A-5 Wagyu fat-washed Russel’s Rye, spot prawn fume, and black truffle caviar).

Where’d you get the cool airplane-shaped ice molds for the Seawell?

We’ll never tell….

Got an idea for a future post? Email me.

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