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?
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…
Liquor.com recently posed an intriguing question that I’m sure many of us have pondered at one point or another: why must a cocktail cost $13? (heck, come to LA and prepare yourself for the $16 libation) Drinks aren’t always cheap, but the above video (shot at mixology mecca Bourbon & Branch) reveals what those extra dollars go towards — assuming it’s a good bar…
Recently I received a complimentary bottle of VeeV Açaí Spirit, which meant I had to face one of my biggest fears: berries. For the uninitiated, I have something neurologically wrong wherein I detest the thing that millions — perhaps BILLIONS — of people worldwide love. I speak, of course, of the berry. I hate almost all berries. I’ve come around to cranberries, and I suppose a caper is technically a berry, and I’m okay with those, but all the rest: big problems for me. Huge. It’s not even that I dislike them but can tolerate them in food. I usually want to gag when I smell, or worse, taste berries.
However, I’m determined to have some breakthroughs this year because after all, I do aspire to call myself an unqualified foodie (I mean that in every sense of the term), and I’m not sure I can live up to that title if an entire realm of foods is verboten to me.
And so when the VeeV arrived, I was determined to take on the challenge head on. With the help of Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken, and Stirred, my friend Sly and I delved into the wide world of AÇAÍ!
This may come as a shock to you all, but the weather here in Los Angeles is often wonderful. Such was the case this past Saturday, which aside from being absolutely beautiful was also supposed to mark the End of the Days. Well, Doomsday be damned, I was going to celebrate the weather with a cocktail. I called up my reliable drinking buddy Sly and invited her over to enjoy a quick afternoon drink chez moi, and of course, she took the bait hook, line, and sinker. Little did either of us realize that we would soon be embarking on an evening of extreme (but not sloppy) drunkenness.
Photos of our drinking — beginning with the Rapture-appropriate “Suffering Bastard” cocktail — after the jump…