COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Josh Curtis Edition

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As part of my new and ongoing quest to sample inventive and tasty cocktails, I’m very excited to announce the presence of a guest mixologist here on B-Side Blog. He’s none other than Josh Curtis, one of the top mixologists in Los Angeles. In the past, Josh has been a libation guru at Jar and The Hungry Cat, and currently, he’s the bar manager of Supperclub LA, the swanky new hot spot that’s slated to open at the end of the month in Hollywood.

I told Josh about my uncreatively titled “Cocktail of the Week” series on the site, and he agreed to share a recipe from the forthcoming Supperclub drink menu. His offering: “On The Fritz,” a rosemary-citrus gin cocktail named after an alleged ghost that haunts Supperclub’s premises at the former Vogue Theater.

After the jump, pics of Josh making the drink, as well as one or two bartender tips to boot…

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First things first: we need to make a batch of simple syrup. Josh informs me that in a pinch, there’s a simple method to make near instant simple syrup…

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First, an Ikea funnel is placed atop my empty bottle.

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Next, Josh pours in a healthy amount of sugar. Like all simple syrups, the plan is to do a 1:1 ration of sugar and water.

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This involves a lot of sugar.

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The hourglass-esque experience is somewhat transfixing.

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Eventually Josh fills the bottle up halfway with sugar.

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He then fills the rest of the bottle up with water.

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Vigorous shaking ensues.

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Ten minutes in the freezer, and voila. Simple syrup. According to Josh, the need to heat the syrup is simply an old wives tale.

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Meanwhile, I pull a few sprigs of rosemary off my plant on the balcony for the drink. They are far from photogenic; so we opt to fetch some fresh options from the supermarket next door (hence, we let the simple syrup chill in the freezer during that time).

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Clearly this is an upgrade.

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Also on hand is a colorful bowl of citrus.

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At last it’s time to make the drink. First things first: Josh employs the rosemary.

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Josh is very mindful of presentation. Whereas I would normally just drop the herbs into the glass, he’s careful to swirl the rosemary artfully like a spiral.

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Muddling, etc.

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Josh then attacks a bag of ice. Another fun tip: rather than drop the bag on the floor like most of us do, Josh simply thwacks it multiple times with the muddler as if he were banging a gavel.

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With the ice sufficiently loosened, Josh fills the tumbler to the brim with cubes.

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And now gin. About an ounce and a half or so. Maybe a little more.

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Next up is lime juice.

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Josh’s clever technique is to squeeze the limes against the side of the muddler. Ultimately it allows for better eyeballing of the juice.

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In goes about three quarters of an ounce of lime juice. An ounce of simple syrup is involved too.

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Now the oranges get their moment.

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Never one to waste useful ingredients, Josh drops some pulp into the glass for a dramatic injection of color.

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One ounce of fresh-squeezed orange juice soon follows.

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Josh then shakes it all up in the shaker and pours it back into the tumbler. The resultant beverage is frothy and appetizing. It was all I could do to not snatch it out of his hands.

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Last but not least, the assembling of the garnish.

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It’s ready for its close-up.

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Behold.

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Time for the first taste…

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I believe my expression is saying “Holy CRAP that is good.”

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MORE.

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Pause for libation appreciation.

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And continuing onwards and upwards in the alcoholic sense.

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Meanwhile, I tell Josh about the liquid revelation that is the Snap-Pea-Irinha, and he sets about making a glass for himself. Of course, he makes it look so much more impressive than when I first made them.

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Josh prepares for his first sip…

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This is a very tense moment. If I can successfully introduce a new drink to one of L.A.’s top mixologists, I’ll have crazy bragging rights. I don’t know to whom I’ll brag, but I WILL DO IT.

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I’m happy to report that Josh indeed liked the drink a lot. He ultimately added more pepper than what the recipe called for, but in the end, he was a big fan. Don’t be surprised if his own take on the drink winds up at Supperclub LA…

I don’t think you need me to tell you how the On The Fritz tasted. It had everything I love in a drink: bright citrus flavors with refreshing herbal notes. Can’t really go wrong with that…

On The Fritz
by Josh Curtis

1 sprig of rosemary
1.5 oz gin
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 oz simple syrup

Muddle a sprig of rosemary in a rocks glass. Fill with ice cubes, followed by gin, lime juice, orange juice, and simple syrup. Pour into a shaker, shake, and return to glass, unstrained.

16 replies on “COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Josh Curtis Edition”

  1. Continue with these posts. Although I’m confused on why he arranged the rosemary if he was going to muddle it and shake it up anyway. Was the muddle with just rosemary to release essence and oils?

  2. it looks good, but I don’t like rosemary so I wouldn’t want to order it. It’s cool that you had personal cocktail service from a famous mixologist in your home (though you could have taken the dishes out of the sink). I wonder how much they will charge for that drink at The Supperclub, b/c I have a feeling that I’d blow my alcohol budget pretty quickly at that place.

  3. Hey Brother of Indiana Jones,

    to answer your question the arrangement of the rosemary is placed as a spiral for two reasons.

    1.) It fits in the glass easily this way

    2.) As I am simply releasing essential oils from the rosemary with the muddler, it is important that as much of the fresh rosemary as possible is flat on the surface. It makes it so I can press it a few quick times and it is done.

    The rest of the mix that is fresh squeezed would often be pre-mixed in pitchers earlier in the afternoon utilizing the exact same ratios as above. This way, you can serve this drink quickly to a large party.

    Cheers.

  4. @ Josh

    Thanks for the reply, what about gin selection? Saw that you went with a Beefeater opposed to Hendricks. What’s the reasoning behind gin selection, do you look for contrast of flavors or complementing flavors?

    Does that make sense, I still haven’t had coffee yet…

    I’m definitely going to try this tonight. I just got Savoy and was going to run through those daily, but this is going to take priority.

  5. I think that rosemary can be overpowering so I tend to use less than a recipe would recommend. Was the rosemary really strong in this drink?

  6. Hendrick’s is my favorite. Alot of cats are all about Old Tom rt now because it is readily available and it is the og. Old Raj is amazing w saffron which makes it mellow yellow in color. It is also up there in price. The classic guys are all about the Bols Genever.

    Beefeater is a London gin which has a delicious juniper profile. It is great to mix with and has an excellent price point. I also like Brokers and No. 207 from the city.

    Cheers
    JC

    1. “alot of cats”? Love it.!
      The last time I heard that phrase Sammy was playing the lounge at Caesars.

      hb

  7. Speaking of cats, when I saw that batch of rosemary in the first pictures I thought it was a hair ball like my cats love presenting to me. 🙂

  8. “Pause for libation appreciation.”

    If the world paused more for libation appreciation, there would be no war.

  9. Love the step-by-step photos for the drink preparation, very easy to follow. Also nice to learn that you don’t need to heat the water to create simple syrup (although probably hurts less on the arms!). Drink looks great and beautifully presented.

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