Sláinte! at this La Jolla whiskey festival

Whiskey fans rejoice! The Hiatus Lounge, located poolside at Hotel La Jolla, brings back its popular spirit fest series from 2-5 p.m. March 18, with an inaugural installation for brown spirit lovers. WHISKEY! A Grain & Oak Festival features both straight and cocktail-ed spirits, including scotch, bourbon, rye, and for St. Patrick’s Day, a selection of Irish whiskeys.

Wondering what makes a whiskey rye? Or Irish? Up your knowledge before you head to the festival.

Rye Whiskey: To be classified rye in the United States, the whiskey must:

  • Contain at least 51 percent rye in the grain mixture
  • Distilled to a limit of 160 proof, or 80 percent ABV
  • Aged in new charred oak barrels
  • Bottled at no less than 80 proof, 40 percent ABV

Check out this style with selections from Crater Lake, George Dickel, and San Diego Distillery.

Irish Whiskey: According to the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980, the whiskey must:

  • Be distilled in Ireland
  • Distilled at less than 94.8 percent ABV
  • Matured in wooden casks no less than three years or an aggregate of three years

For $15, during the festival, you can enjoy classics such as Tullamore Dew and Bushmills, along with a range of Jameson options on deck. A variety of Bourbons will be offered as well as several from Glenmorangie in the Scotch category, including the Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, and Nectar d’Or.

Hiatus plans to give hungry spirit lovers a variety of munchies to pair with their whiskey including yuca fries with jalapeno-arugula aioli and feta cheese, Pan con Pollo, bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese, and housemade Kennebec chips with pancetta onion dip.

Other upcoming festivals in the Hiatus series include Agave Fest, Rum Fest, and Pop!Bubbly Fest. Tickets to WHISKEY! A Grain & Oak Festival run $15, and can be purchased at

7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, 858.551.3620,

After the event

Once you try out multiple whiskeys at the festival, try your hand with a whiskey cocktail at home. Hiatus offers up this inventive recipe for burgeoning mixologists:

San Diego Sangria

1.25 oz San Diego Distillery Rye

.75 oz honey syrup

.75 oz lemon juice

2 dashes orange bitters

1 oz cabernet

Egg white

Place rye, honey syrup, lemon juice, bitters and egg in a mixing tin and dry shake vigorously (read: no ice) until hard to shake. Roll liquid into a double rocks glass filled with ice. Float wine on top. Garnish with lemon peel.


Booze 101: All about bourbon

Booze 101: All about scotch