Spinning the Bottle

By Brandon Hernández
Photo by Tim King

Nothing announces fun and the New Year like the pop of a cork. And when that ?zz calls for a little sizzle, tilt a glass toward Jeff Josenhans at Grant Grill inside downtown's historic US Grant Hotel-he's got you covered with his Cocktails Sur Lie. (Sur Lie is a French term for "having rested on yeast.")

Utilizing the French approach to crafting sparkling wine, the sommelier/mixologist has created the ?rst bottle conditioned cocktails that successfully combine the fermentation processes of beer and champagne.

"It's basically the champagne method, but applied to cocktails," Josenhans explains. "We make the cocktail without the alcohol, then put it in a bottle with hops, sugar and yeast. The yeast eats the sugar and produces carbon dioxide."

From there, Josenhans inverts the bottle to allow the yeast to settle toward the bottle cap. He pops the cap to release the yeast along with a small amount of liquid, which he replaces with more sugar and alcohol.

The formula gives rise to ticklingly carbonated cocktails such as Mule in a Bottle, combining ?ower-infused vodka, ginger, California hops and champagne yeast; and Smokin' Pumpkin, a mix of pumpkin-infused rum, saffron, vanilla, applewood-smoked coconut sugar and exotic liqueurs with ale yeast.

When not experimenting behind the bar, Josenhans, a graduate of Sweden's Stockholm University who has traveled to more than 45 countries, enjoys gardening, cooking and spending quality time with his daughter. He credits his "hard-working, beer-and-tequila-loving family" for his own work ethic and love of ?ne spirits.

Josenhans's bottle conditioned cocktails will appear full-time on Grant Grill's drink menu beginning in January. A votre santé!

Copyright © 2018, Pacific San Diego
66°