Finding Whiskey in San Diego

We’re officially a week into 2020 and this is around the time when some are already giving up on their New Year’s Resolutions. For those throwing in the towel on #dryJanuary, here’s where to go for a nip of whiskey on these chilly San Diego nights.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

In addition to the freshly-prepared comfort food, friendly atmosphere and incredible view of the Point Loma Marina, Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern touts an impressive list of high-end whiskeys. Determined to be a “great bar with great food,”Jimmy’s is one of the few establishments in San Diego where serious sippers can order a rare glass of whiskey and eat some high quality, classic American fare.

  • Want to impress the bartender?: Order the Horse Soldier Straight Bourbon Whiskey neat or on the rocks. This exclusive bourbon is an all-American, veteran owned and operated company. What’s tougher than bourbon made by former Green Berets? Tasting/Aroma: Caramel, Vanilla, Toasted Corn, Honey, Custard, Nutmeg, with a hint of Spicy Oak. Well balanced and robust with a mellow finish.
  • Other whiskeys available at Jimmy’s: Buffalo Trace, Basil Hayden’s, Bell Meade, Blanton’s, Dickel #12, Eagle Rare, Elmer T. Lee, Henry McKenna Single, Henry McKenna Sour, Old Forester, Second Glance, Stagg Jr., Weller Antique, Weller 12, Weller Spec. Rsrv, Woodford Reserve


Carlsbad’s Campfire has long been recognized for inventive craft cocktails, but if you’re looking for something more direct, the spirits list is where to look.

  • Drink for a good cause: Order a glass of Parker’s Heritage Heavy Char Rye, which is the 13th edition of the Heritage Collection. This 105 proof rye sits in a Level-5 charred barrel for 8 years. The series, named after the distillery’s late Master Distiller who died from ALS, donates a portion of the proceeds from each bottle to the ALS foundation.
  • Want to impress the bartender?: Choose the WhistlePig Boss Hog The Samurai Scientist. An ultra limited run of WhistlePig’s already coveted Boss Hog line, the Samurai Scientist is America’s first whiskey that’s koji fermented AND finished in Japanese Umeshu (an aged sweet and sour fruit liqueur). The result is a collaboration between WhistlePig and Kitaya Brewery in Japan. Each bottle features a mini pig-samurai on the cap that represents Jokichi Takemine, the Samurai Scientist himself who pioneered Koji fermentation in the American Whisky industry over 100 years ago.
  • Psst: they also have a few bottles of Pappy Van Winkle 10 and 12 stashed. You just have to ask for it!

Il Dandy

While whiskey doesn’t seem like a dandy’s drink of choice, Il Dandy in Banker’s Hill has an admirable list of whiskeys to accompany their robust cocktail program. Whether you’re dropping in for aperitivo, dinner, or a nightcap, Il Dandy’s got you covered.

  • Start with a cocktail: You can’t visit Il Dandy without trying one of their cocktails. Before switching over to the straight stuff, try the Dandy Fashioned (Rye, Dimmi, Vecchio Amaro Del Capo) – you won’t regret it.
  • Want to impress the bartender?: Order a glass of Henry McKenna Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. This is perfectly balanced Bourbon is the winner of Best in Show and Best Whiskey at the 2019 SF World Spirits Competition.
  • Other whiskeys available at Il Dandy: Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond aged 11 years, Buffalo Trace, Dalmore King Alexander III, Kaiyo Japanese whiskey, Henebery Spiced Whiskey, St George Baller, Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-in-Bond, Michers Rye

Mille Fleurs

Tucked away in Rancho Santa Fe’s quaint downtown is 30+ year culinary institution Mille Fleurs with an impressive library of whiskeys. For an evening of pure entertainment, take a seat at the bar, order something special straight up, and sing along to Randy the Piano Man’s set of smooth vocals and lively tracks (Thurs-Sat).

  • Opt for a classic: Start the night with one of Mille Fleurs’ craft classics like their Burnt Orange Old Fashioned (house bottled rye, charred orange, duo of house bitters) or the Sweet Tea Mint Julep (honeyed black tea, bourbon).
  • Want to impress the bartender?: Order a pour of the Lagavulin 16, a much sought-after single malt that offers massive peat-smoke, yet richness and dryness that makes for a truly interesting tipple. Or, if you’re looking for something more worthy of a special occasion, selections like Glenmorangie “Vintage 90”, Macallan 25 yearr, or off-menu Pappy Van Winkle will be sure to satisfy your whiskey dreams.

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