The Story Behind Cool Beans

Have you ever wondered who came up with the idea to blend whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters to create what we all know today as a classic Manhattan? Or, who first blended gin, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water to make a Tom Collins?

At George's Level2, we spend a good amount of our time thinking about how to create amazing concoctions for a variety of palettes. In our never-ending quest to make the best craft cocktails in San Diego, our resident Spirits and Beer Director/Barman, Stephen Kurpinsky, came up with one cocktail in particular that we couldn't be more excited about. Here's his story behind our current Cockail of the Moment, "Cool Beans"...

I originally designed the cocktail to appear on the Craft at the Cove menu featuring Chad Austin from Bootlegger Tiki. He wanted his menu to be a collaboration rather than all his own cocktails. So we each submitted three creations for the menu. The idea I originally had was to design a “Tiki style” cocktail that spoke to the flavors of San Diego and northern Baja, then serving it in a kitchy “bean can”.

"Cool Beans"

  • El Dorado 8 Year Demerara Rum
  • Pierde Almas Puritita Joven Mezcal
  • Applewood Cold Smoked Lime
  • House Tepache
  • Tamarind
  • Mole spice

I choose an aged demerara rum for its mouth feel and funky molasses notes. The mezcal offers the slightest bit of roasted agave smoke which is enhanced by the applewood cold smoke flavor of the lime juice (I cold smoke lime halves for 45 minutes, then juice the citrus). The sweet notes in the drink come from a mole spiced tamarind syrup that we make using mole paste, tamarind, sugar and citric acid. Tepache is the lengthener in this Tiki punch, but it too is there for a reason. Tepache is a wild fermented pineapple drink. I open ferment pineapple skins, juice, spices and tamarind together for four days, then add piloncio and brown sugar before cold fermenting for another four days. The tepache adds acidic, baking spice and funky notes to the cocktail, playing off the rum and smoked flavors, and tying the whole drink together. We serve the drink in an aluminum can and garnish with a pineapple leaf and mint crown.

The drink tastes like it took a week to make, and we’re super proud of it.