Hotel La Jolla announced last week that a new bartender has taken over its 11th floor restaurant and bar—Cusp Dining & Drinks.
Chris Burkett, a SoCal native, has replaced lead bartender Nate Howell. And he’s bringing flavor to La Jolla. He's introduced several new beverages, including the La Lllorona, made with Corralejo Reposado tequila, sherry, bitters and house made vanilla-espresso-ghost pepper syrup, which will surely be a classic.
La Jolla provided the following bio on Burkett:
Chris Burkett did not take the typical bartender career path. Originally a freelance writer in Los Angeles, Chris found his side job bartending gig to be less competitive, more social and, frankly, better paid. So he left the City of Angels to start what would ultimately be one of the most fascinating and rewarding careers he could have chosen.
Chris Burkett’s personal bartending style is that - personal. As head bartender at Cusp Dining & Drinks, Chris brings his classic approach and timeless techniques to the balanced, ingredient-focused cocktails on Cusp’s menu. Born in Fontana, Calif., Chris gained experience behind the bar by working in dive bars, wine bars, and nightclubs until he found his preferred style. After working his way from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, Chris and a few friends decided to move to Chicago and open their own neighborhood beer joint. After much success, they sold the bar and Chris found himself studying classic cocktails under the tutelage of Peter Vestinos. It was through that experience that he developed his love for spirits and cocktail creation. After a year of gaining knowledge on spirits, balance and methods to develop his own personal style, Chris decided to move back to California and take on a new project.
Chris’ plan for Cusp’s bar is to leave guests comfortable, appreciated, and engaged in what they are drinking without pretense. He understands that everyone has their preferences, and some want to be catered to, some want education and knowledge, and others want solitude and a drink.”
When it comes to Chris’ drink menu, he keeps it simple with classic, balanced builds. Understanding cocktails can be new to some guests, his menu blends ingredients that might not be common knowledge, like fortified wines, obscure spirits, and bitters, but are presented in creative, yet accessible cocktails. With Cusp’s menu focused on Coastal Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll find Chris’ menu featuring spirits that pair well with the food and easy to enjoy.
When not behind the bar, you’ll find Chris reading, jotting down notes for one of his planned books, and expanding his knowledge of worldly beers. Chris will be a welcoming presence behind the bar at Cusp, and is looking forward to contributing to the “libation greatness San Diego currently has. “