Great news for whiskey fiends: this Saturday is World Whiskey Day! Never heard of it? Neither have I. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were some silly creation manufactured by Jack Daniels, but who really cares? Any excuse to go out for a drink is a good one by me (unless it involves numbing the soul from having committed a crime so vile it cannot be uttered to another being. But I digress).
Anyway, after the jump, check out a few whiskey options here in Los Angeles that may help scratch your itch for the brown stuff.
A horrendous thing has happened in Los Angeles: my dear friend Sly and I have ceased making cocktails. Terrible, I know. To be fair, it really isn’t my fault. Every time I invite Sly over to make a beverage, she always denies me coldly — often with some excuse such as “I’m sorry, I just ate three pistachios” or “I’m sorry, but I’m currently perusing a pamphlet about Rodin” or “I’m sorry, but I may have just boarded a flight to Durban.”
Luckily, as the fates would have it, Sly decided to grace me with her presence this past weekend, and with her was Aletheia, who sharp-minded blog readers may remember from the verrrrry first Quaff post, known affectionately then as Fresh Cocktail Hour. Anyway, the two lovely ladies showed up at my apartment with sacks of produce from the farmer’s market, all meant to be juiced, muddled, and transformed into cocktails. Clearly, we had work to do.
The running line about Los Angeles is that it’s a city with no seasons. I think this is false for a variety of reasons, but for those of you who still feel adamant about this point, might I direct you to Drago Centro, which has been doing a bang-up job this year is heralding each quarter with a new batch of seasonal cocktails. I was lucky enough to partake in tastings of the Spring and Summer options, and recently, I was invited back to a media-comped meal at Drago where mixologist Jaymee Mandeville provided us with yet another new slate of drinks to celebrate fall.
After the jump, take a look at pics of the cocktails and a few of the nibbles.
A few months ago, I raved about the totally awesome spring cocktails at Drago Centro, the esteemed Italian eatery in Downtown Los Angeles. Well, the seasons have changed, and so have the libations. Gone are mixologist Jaymee Mandeville’s fanciful uses of dill and honeycomb and kumquat. In their place are a new slate of drinks, many of which feature my most mortal enemy: BERRIES.
Avid readers of this blog know that I have some strange, woeful distaste for berries that makes me generally gag upon first taste, not to mention whiff. But given that being a food blogger is very serious business, I felt it was my God-given duty to bravely put aside my own apprehensions and dive headfirst into the fruity minefield that is the Drago Centro summer cocktail menu. Never has a media-comped meal been so fraught with anxiety.
Did I survive? Well, obviously yes. I’m here writing, aren’t I? But the trauma, the agony — was I able to rise above? Pictures of this most important journey after the jump…
The revival of Downtown Los Angeles continues, particularly as it pertains to great bars and mixology. Making a mark of its own is Drago Centro, which unveiled its Spring cocktail menu a few weeks ago with a media-comped tasting session at its bar. When I received the invite for this event, my eyes nearly fell out of my head. Don’t worry though — all ocular function has been retained. Still, the cocktail menu that came with the email was a sight to behold. I wanted to try each and every one of the twelve or so libations on the menu — a first for me.
Crafted by perhaps my new favorite bartender of all time Jaymee Mandeville, I can assure you these beverages rock. Let’s take a looksie, shall we?
Crazy as it might sound, I’d never tasted one of McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes prior to last year. I can’t say that I was totally won over by it, but I know many people have been, and now comes this glorious and probably obvious news: you can make a Shamrock Shake at home!
According to Kelsey Banfield of Babble.com (by way of Yahoo), there is a recipe out there that comes thisclose to replicating the McDonald’s original.
Recipe after the jump. Also, please note that you will probably kick yourself for not being able to figure it out on your own.
Los Angeles’s Farmer’s Market at Fairfax and Third just received a healthy dose of booze. Mixology, to be specific. The airy new bar Mixology 101 opened up this week, ready to serve a lengthy list of cocktails (over forty at last count) as well as beer, wine, spirits, and various bites. Steered by acclaimed bartender Salvatore Calabrese (known affectionately as “The Maestro”), the airy watering hole — located up a flight of stairs adjacent to Sur La Table — offers pleasant views of The Grove and The Farmer’s Market, and while gazing upon Zara or Banana Republic might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the space is actually a nice hideout from the masses of slowly-ambling shoppers down below. For some, that hideout might be necessary because, let’s face it: The Grove is somewhat awful. Packs of tourists, annoying teenagers, slowly-moving confused people — it can be a disaster. Lord knows anyone who visits needs a stiff drink or two. But will Mixology 101 be the place for that? Or will it fall in line with all the other restaurants and bars at The Grove: average and overpriced.
Last week, I was invited to a media-comped preview event for Mixology 101 where I was allowed to sample some of the bar’s signature cocktails (as well as a few bites from the new restaurant next door, Planet Dailes). Pictures and impressions after the jump…
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged about cocktails (and it’s been an even hotter minute since I stated a blog by saying “It’s been a hot minute…”). Nevertheless, I’m here to buck the trend. Last night, my friend IndianJones and I attended a “tasting bout” sponsored by Tequila Herrandura and UrbanDaddy at Los Angeles’ Soho House. The event was simple: four mixologists battled it out for cocktail supremacy in front of an esteemed panel of judges, with each barkeep enduring at least two rounds of competition. First they had to serve up a signature cocktail. Then they had to whip up as many margaritas as possible under three minutes. Winner advanced to a final round that involved incorporating chocolate into a tequila drink. Fun times all around.
Of course, while the competition was fun to watch, it merely was an excuse to enjoy some tasty tequila (shots were abundant) and make new friends. In the end, master mixologist Steve Livigni took home the title belt, much to the delight of the many boozy onlookers. I didn’t get a chance to try any of Livigni’s cocktails, but I can assure you I more than made up for it with a variety margaritas, shots, and other assorted libations. A few random pictures of the event after the jump…
There are many things I can’t do. There are far more that I can’t. The above video ranks in the latter category. Watch as a bartender manages to pour an handful of drinks all at once, much to the amazement of his blue-haired crowd. Very cool stuff (except for the annoying bell that sounds during the entire feat).]
Last week, my dearest friend Meeshie visited me here in Los Angeles, and she absolutely insisted that we make a cocktail (I was not very hard to persuade). I handed her my favorite cocktail book, Organic, Shaken and Stirred by Paul Abercrombie and told her to pick out a recipe. After some casual browsing, Meeshie decided on our beverage of the evening: the Ginger Cilantro Mule.
A variation on the classic Moscow Mule, the GCM (as I like to call it) is all about the refreshing play of ginger and lime, but unlike any other “mule,” I’ve tried, this one features not vodka, not gin, but rather TEQUILA. Color me intrigued…