Credit: Briley Pizzelanti
Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

7 Whisky Cocktails in San Diego That’ll Get You in the Mood for Sweater Weather

These Malty Libations Are Unbe-leaf-ably Good!

It’s the season of pumpkin spice and everything nice, but some of us have our sights set on something a little stronger. Whether you take it Tennessee style or prefer a nice bourbon, walk yourself into a whisky wonderland in these bars that have quickly become San Diego favorites. Whether you’re a whisky cocktail connoisseur or a newbie looking to savor the strong taste of spicy-smooth, our city-wide roundup has something for everyone. Whisk yourself away into the deep, forward flavors of whisky in this roundup of our seven favorite whisky-based cocktails. Go sweet, go sour or simply hope you won’t taste the booze. whisky cocktails in san diego


Drink: Rusty Nail

Order at: Aero Club Bar

Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

Feeling rusty? Loosen up and double down on the whisky with this blend of smooth Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky and Drambuie, a golden Scotch whisky liqueur known for its notes of heather honey, herbs and spices. Pulled together with a simple lemon twist, this spirit-forward concoction has been created for the staunchest of whisky drinkers, and it’s time to prove your loyalty. Sip it slow and keep it by your side for the evening—you won’t be needing much else. 

Location: Middletown/Mission Hills


Drink: Penicillin 

Order at: Sidecar Bar

Credit: Sidecar

Could we get a cure on the rocks, please? Remedy what ails you and sip on a Penicillin, Sidecar’s forward-yet-floral whisky drink. Monkey Shoulder’s premium malt whisky meets its match with the mix of bitter lemon and sweet honey, while ginger brings out the bite of the spirit. Though it’s served looking as classic as an old fashioned, that’s not all—it appeals to more than just whisky lovers with its unique mezcal topper. With a drink this forward, there won’t be a dry rye in the house.

Location: Morena 


Drink: Farewell to Summer 

Order at: Seven Grand

Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

We’ve got to admit—it’s a bit tough to order this cocktail without shedding a tear. The Farewell to Summer is the perfect beverage for your transition from constant heat waves to leaves crunching on the concrete. It might be bittersweet, but it’s impossible to not see the sweet side of summer fading away while you’re tucked inside the cozy, classy atmosphere of Seven Grand. This libation is crafted with Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky, St-Germain, Punt e Mes and lemon for a sip you won’t soon forget.

Location: North Park



Drink: Buffalo Negroni 

Order at: insideOUT

Credit: Bhadri Kubendran

Embrace the bite of bourbon at insideOUT with their specialty Buffalo Negroni. The fragrant, rye-forward bourbon is balanced by a luxurious antica sweet vermouth and topped with vibrant campari bitters for a smooth finish. Sip it slowly with a top-notch filet mignon or delectable short rib to truly treat yourself. This is truly one of the best whisky cocktails in San Diego.

Location: Hillcrest



Drink: Pine Street Sour 

Order at: Polite Provisions

Credit: Polite Provisions

We never thought we’d say this, but why not take a stroll on the sour side? You have permission to remain sweet as you sip on Polite Provisions’ Pine Street Sour. Zesty and sour with a whole lot of zing, this blend of rye whisky takes flight with iconically bitter campari, some sweet (pineapple) and a final finish of sour (lemon and grapefruit). Fear not the dreaded lemon-face—this balanced beverage is best paired with your favorite company and a side of deep, dark secrets.

Location: University Heights/North Park


Drink: Rye Almondine 

Order at: Rare Society

Indecisive drinkers rejoice: if gin is also your jam, the Rye Almondine at Rare Society will have you on cloud nine. This unique mix of rye whisky and sloe gin gets a kick of cinnamon and clove with the addition of pimento dram allspice and creamy orgeat and lime for a balanced finish. Make it an all-out almond night by pairing this cozy cocktail with their delicious creamsicle cheesecake, which is a decadent dessert topped with almonds. 

Location: University Heights



Drink: Ponton Smash

Order at: Wormwood

Credit: Arlene Ibarra

We once were absent of absinthe, and at last, we’re cured. Get your whisky fix with a side of absinthe at Wormwood, San Diego’s first absinthe bar. This twist on a classic whisky smash delivers a delightful blend of bourbon, mint, Butterfly Classic absinthe, lemon and pineapple. It’s a smooth yet zesty sipper that allows you to keep the whisky while branching out into the world of absinthe.

Location: University Heights

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Jaclyn is a sunshine chasing San Diego native with an extensive writing background. When she isn’t word-smithing, you can find her playing beach volleyball, skating the boardwalk, or on a rooftop enjoying a drink in the sunshine with her pals.

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