Ranch & Coast Magazine

February 2024

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Page 58 of 99

With the concept fully fleshed out, I'm scheduled to meet Love in mid-December 2023. He's making a low-key entrance in North Park for a quick dinner at One Door North. Love's entourage fills three dinner tables in the back of the restaurant. Now 82, the Beach Boy who never stops working is in town to judge a bartending contest later tonight at Swan Bar. He smiles at the thought of having to taste test all the contestants' cocktails. "Usually, I'm a gulper, but tonight I'm going to be a sipper," Love says. is contest is unique. Eight of San Diego's top bartenders will compete. And the main ingredient will be special rum blends used in Love's new line of Club Kokomo Spirits. e company pre- miered with four harmonious cocktail-in- a-can offerings. One is a gin mix; the other three contain Love's spirit of choice, includ- ing the citrusy "Afternoon Delight," gua- va-infused "Mystique," and lime-mint-lem- ongrass-blended "Kokomojito." e imminent news: Club Kokomo Spirits will introduce three new rums to the mix. Look for a Tahitian Vanilla Rum, an Artisan White, and a barrel-finished rum described as "a premium sipper." Love's son Brian Love, who's a Club Kokomo Spirits founding partner, connected with small-batch dis- tillery Seven Caves Spirits in Miramar, helmed by award-winning spirits formulator Geoff Longenecker. Until this year, the canned cocktails have been predominantly distributed in more than 40 San Diego retail outlets. Brian says the plan is to start with the new bottles and push for national distribution. "e bottles will be available by retail and we'll also be shipping direct to consumers in 37 states," Brian says. "We'll try to hit the market hard, starting with a San Diego launch. San Diego really is our home base. Seven Caves is highly respected, and we have a lot of friends here." Indeed. As a well-traveled musician, Mike Love can honestly say: "I get around." ough, for a decade, his primary residence was in Rancho Santa Fe, and one of Love's daughters attend- ed Cathedral Catholic High School in Carmel Valley. Love raves about playing a recent concert in the world-class Rady Shell at Jacobs Park in downtown San Diego. And in 2023, the Beach Boys performed at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in a charity fundraiser concert benefiting the Vision of Children Foundation. He lights up recalling the string of San Diego Padres-Beach Boys "doubleheaders" played at Jack Murphy Stadium throughout the 1980s. Usually held in May, the concerts would follow the baseball game and regularly drew 50,000-plus fans. One of those dou- bleheaders is where the band first met actor John Stamos. Now well-known for portraying Uncle Jesse in TV sitcom Full House, at the time Stamos was a heartthrob stemming from his role as Blackie on the soap opera General Hospital. Love and Stamos remain good friends. e actor often sits in on drums at Beach Boys gigs, and he played bongos in the "Kokomo" music video. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a San Diego tie-in to the Beach Boys' highly-acclaimed Pet Sounds album? at 1966 master work has been dubbed by critics as one of the most influential collections of pop music ever. Don't worry baby, there is a strong and endearing connection. Recall the Pet Sounds album cover? It's a photograph of all five members of the band — Love, brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, and Al Jardine — cavorting with goats. Wish they all could be California goats? Well, the picture was taken in the petting zoo area of the San Diego Zoo. What does Love remember about working with the San Diego Zoo goats? Was it fun, fun, fun? "ose goats were hungry, really hungry," he sighs. If only there'd been a take-the- bite-out-of-the-day cocktail called a "Kokomojito" available back then. Pop one open, get there fast, and then you'd take it slow. at's where we wanna go. clubkokomospirits.com MAIN & CLUB KOKOMO CANNED COCKTAILS: PHOTO BY TOBY OGDEN PORTRAIT: PHOTO BY JAMES TRAN

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