Posts Tagged ‘gin’

Summer cocktails all year round

Even though summer is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean you can’t drink like it’s summer all year ’round, especially here in Los Angeles. From the herbaceous to the tiki, here are some of my favorite refreshing cocktails.

Headhunter’s Repentance at Sonny’s Hideaway

Headhunter's Repentance at Sonny's Hideaway

Headhunter’s Repentance at Sonny’s Hideaway

John Kelly O’Hare, who heads up the bar at Sonny’s Hideaway in Highland Park, is doing some great things. Aside from the overproof punches and barrel-aged Campari and Fernet, there’s a Tiki Tuesday menu with some of the best tiki drinks I’ve ever tasted. Some real thought went into these cocktails, which also means they’re not cloying sweet. My favorite, which isn’t on the current tiki menu but is available if you ask nicely, is the Headhunter’s Repentance with rye, chai, lime, pineapple and toasted coconut, a combination of some of my all-time favorite things.

Garden Cup at Faith & Flower

Garden Cup at Faith & Flower

Garden Cup at Faith & Flower

The Garden Cup at Faith & Flower is a twist on the classic Pimm’s Cup. With Pimm’s (a gin-based liqueur), basil, citrus and a pickled carrot garnish, this cocktail is fresh-tasting for any time of the year. Unfortunately, the pickled carrot isn’t always available, so when you can get it, consider yourself lucky because that bit of vinegar gives the drink a little extra kick.

Spanish Gin and Tonic at Beelman’s Pub

Spanish Gin and Tonic at Beelman's Pub

Spanish Gin and Tonic at Beelman’s Pub

One of the things that sets the newish downtown watering hole Beelman’s Pub apart is its take on the gin and tonic. Here it’s served Spanish style with a bunch of herbs, citrus and a cinnamon stick, taking the classic G&T to a whole new level. I usually don’t go for a gin and tonic, but throwing in a bunch of aromatics freshens up the cocktail and is sure to make you think of summer any time of the year.

Street Spirit at Wood & Vine

Street Spirit at Wood & Vine

Street Spirit at Wood & Vine

I was going to recommend Wood & Vine‘s Black Star, which I previously described as “summer in a glass,” with its tiki-leaning combo of rum, banana liqueur, housemade orgeat, Angostura bitters, fresh pineapple and lime, but that would be too obvious. Instead, I’m recommending the Street Spirit, with Buffalo Trace bourbon, fresh lemon juice, strawberry balsamic shrub, sherry, ginger beer and lemon peel. The shrub, or drinking vinegar, may not be for everyone, but I think it adds an interesting, funky dimension to the drink. But you’ll need to hurry for this one — the summer cocktail menu will be available for just another three weeks or so.

Note: These tastings were hosted.

07

09 2014

Gin with style: Nolet’s

I used to hate gin. The juniper berries turned me off. But I’ve had a change of heart, what with the abundance of quality mixology in the L.A. area, as well as the emergence of good spirits, including Ketel One vodka maker Nolet’s, which comes with a variety of interesting infusions.

At a Nolet’s cocktail-and-dinner pairing at FIG in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, I sampled Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, which has Turkish rose, peach and raspberry notes and was used in cocktails designed by FIG’s mixologist, Tavis Alexander. My favorite was the beet-based drink, which is now available at FIG. Here are the recipes of Alexander’s cocktails from the dinner:

Beet Me Loud
1 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.5 oz. beet juice
0.75 oz. apple syrup
0.5 oz. lime juice
Absinthe spray glass
Shake all ingredients, strain over ice and serve in a rocks glass.

Mandarin Fizz
2 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.75 oz. lemon juice
0.75 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
Angostura bitters
6 tangerine segments
Zest tangerine
Shake all ingredients, double strain into a mini pilsner glass and garnish with dashes of bitters.

Palisades Coffee
1 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.5 oz. root liquor
0.5 oz. Benedictine
1 oz. espresso
0.5 oz. cream
0.25 oz. simple syrup
Shake all ingredients, strain and serve up in a coupe glass.

Can’t make it to Santa Monica? I’ve seen Nolet’s at Bouchon Bistro’s bar in Beverly Hills, and mixologist Jaymee Mandeville of downtown’s Drago Centro has also put a Nolet’s drink on her seasonal menu:

Silver Solstice
1.25 oz Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.5 oz maple syrup
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz banana jam
4 peppercorns
Muddle or grind peppercorns, add all other ingredients over ice, shake and fine strain. Serve up in a martini glass and garnish with lemon twist.

Beet Me Loud

Beet Me Loud

While the Silver is most common, Nolet’s Reserve, with saffron and verbena notes, retails for about $600 a bottle and is the brainchild of distillery owner Carolus Nolet Sr., who personally tastes every batch before it’s bottled. I got to taste some of this pricey liquid, and it is definitely spicy, just as it was described to those of us at the dinner. I think I actually prefer the Silver, which is a good thing since it seems to be popping up more often around Los Angeles.

Note: The meal and cocktails at FIG were hosted.

29

05 2012

Favorites from the L.A. Street Food Fest

As I’ve previously written, this year’s L.A. Street Food Fest was held at the Rose Bowl, and it was a fun and flavorful event. I had a really great time. Unfortunately for the organizers, it was held over Carmageddon weekend when a portion of the 405 freeway was shut down, and that affected attendance. However, the lack of a big crowd and long lines probably contributed to my enjoyment, so it was a catch 22. I hope it all evens out next year!

Here were some of my favorite bites from this year’s event.

Baja Bites

Sea Urchin Tostada by Sabina Bandera of La Guerrerense

Sea Urchin Tostada by Sabina Bandera of La Guerrerense

Pacific Oyster Asada w/ chicharron short rib, serrano ponzu butter, lemongrass foam by Javier Plascencia of Mision 19

Pacific Oyster Asada w/ chicharron short rib, serrano ponzu butter, lemongrass foam by Javier Plascencia of Mision 19

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01

08 2011

Pretty, scene-y: Fig & Olive Melrose Place

View from the upstairs bar at Fig & Olive

A week ago (I know, I know — I’m behind!), the New York-based, olive oil-centric restaurant Fig & Olive opened its flagship West Coast location at the trendy corner of La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Place. It was a scene, my friends: three nights of people in cocktail attire walking a red carpet complete with a step and repeat, as well as fashion presentations by Cholé and Fendi. All that for a restaurant opening!

To be fair, the restaurant is housed in a pretty awesome space: it’s huge, and features rosemary bushes and an olive tree in the main dining room. There’s even an upstairs space, which houses the Fig Champagne & Cocktail Bar, unique to the L.A. location.

Fig & Olive’s thing is olive oil, which it uses in place of butter in nearly all its dishes. You can even buy bottles of its special infused versions at the restaurant (blood orange-infused olive oil, anyone?). The cuisine is inspired by the Mediterranean, and that means the entire region, including France, Italy and Spain.

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11

03 2011

Old school glamour, food and drink: The Tar Pit

Gin Gin Mule

Gin Gin Mule

The Tar Pit, the much-anticipated new bar and restaurant from chef Mark Peel and general manager Jay Perrin, both of Campanile fame, and noted mixologist Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club in New York, made its debut late last week, and what a debut it was. From the 1940s art moderne decor (the simpler version of art deco) to the era-appropriate food and drink, The Tar Pit is a nice respite from the dark, often cramped, speakeasy style that has been popular among bars lately.

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12 2009