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Top Shelf: Fennel Colada at George's Level2

This fresh twist on the piña colada will have you rethink the tropical cocktail


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I was in my early twenties the last time I drank a piña colada, and the marshmallow-white drink came out of a boozy slushie machine—so my baseline for what the tropical cocktail tastes like is saccharine and heavy.

If you’ve also written the drink off, the version at George’s Level2 will have you rethink piña coladas completely.

The Fennel Colada was created by Sam Peters, general manager of Level2, as part of the lounge’s new menu that highlights San Diego’s natural world—with libations and literature. Order a drink and you get to browse The Flora of San Diego, a coffee-table book written by Peters and the bartenders of George’s, filled with stunning photography that explains where the drink menu ingredients grow wild here.

Peters’s Fennel Colada has three high-quality rums: The Real McCoy, aged for three years in an oak barrel, Casa Magdalena, and Doctor Bird from Jamaica. The traditional Coco Lopez coconut cream and a shot of pineapple juice elevates the tipple to island time, and the addition of Pernod absinthe, fresh mint, and Moët Champagne gives it a light consistency and clean herbal aftertaste that mimics fennel.

“This is closer to what the original piña colada tastes like, and we wanted to bring it back to its roots,” Peters says. We’ll drink to that!

1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla georgeslevel2

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