Alex Minaev, owner of The Whiskey House, says that whiskey has always been a life-long passion of his. “It’s something that I grew up with, and wanted to share,” he says. “There are so many diverse whiskey options, and I made it my mission to collect as many as I possibly could. Plus, I needed a good place to drink!”
Minaev doesn’t take a “corporate approach” to his business, but instead takes pride in a very hands-on ownership. Much care and forethought is put into each unique drink and dish on the restaurant menu. The Whiskey House is home to California’s largest selection of whiskeys, and the nation’s third largest collection with over 2,500 unique bottles from around the world. “No other restaurant or bar in San Diego can come close to the collection that we have,” Minaev explains. “Whiskey is at the heart of our menu, also infused in select dishes and desserts!”
Although they are called The Whiskey House, it’s a little known fact that they also have the largest Absinthe and Gin collection in San Diego ( just because they like it). The focal point of the décor is undoubtedly the thousands of illuminated bottles lining the walls of the bar. “They tell our story, showcase our impressive collection, and highlight what we are all about,” says Minaev. “I also personally like best the five giant French Magnum Pendants hanging over the bar. They are reproductions based on traditional French wine spheres used for fermentation, and I think they give the bar authentic character and history.”
According to Minaev, the most unique cocktail on the menu is the White Truffle Manhattan. He buys Italian White Alba Truffles (when in season) at a staggering price of over 2000 dollars per pound. The truffles are shaved thin, then infused with Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof whiskey. After steeping for a couple of weeks, the recipe is strained and bottled. When the White Truffle Manhattan is ordered, guests can expect 2 ounces of the truffle-infused whiskey with some fine sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters, a garnish of fine maraschino cherries, and a fancy topping of REAL 24K gold flakes.
There are some core menu items that have remained constant over the years, with most of the menu changes revolving around locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. According to Minaev, the most unique food at his restaurant is the Scotch Egg. A classic British picnic food, this dish isn’t typically found in San Diego. It has a warm runny yolk inside a freshly grounded sausage patty that is breaded and deep-fried. Desserts infused with some of the best whiskeys include the Laphroig Ice Cream, infused with 10-year-old Laphroig Single Malt Scotch, and the Crème Brulee, infused with Sazerac Rye Whiskey.
©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana