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Events that may interest you past, present and future!

Rookie moves to avoid at Tales!

In 2011 my boyfriend FutureGreg and I went to Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) in New Orleans, Louisiana. We had heard about it, read about it and finally decided to see it for ourselves.

This has to be the best cocktail convention in the World.  Thousands of the most influential and talented members of the cocktail community from all across the globe meet in the sticky heat of New Orleans and spend 5 days experiencing Tastings, Seminars, Parties and Competitions.

Having never been before we really didn’t know what to expect, so we jumped in head first.  By the time we came up for air it was Sunday and we were leaving in a taxi to the airport, looking at a sign (below) and wondering ‘What the hell just happened?!’

Tales happened.

Our good friend Giovanni Martinez arrived a day after we did, took one look at my drunk boyfriend and said: “Oh my God, you guys are screwed.”

I proceeded to ask him “Why?”, to which he explained how getting drunk that early was a “Rookie move we would regret”

And so began my list of things to avoid.  This year is the 10 year anniversary of TOTC and there will be even more people heading out to Louisiana and many more newbies.  Here is the best I can think of to prepare for the trip. I suggest you heed my warning if you want to enjoy your time…

(All the photos in this post were taken from our trip to Tales of the Cocktail 2011)

Rookie move: Drink everything you see

Solution: Never finish the drink your holding!

This is a big one, you’re going to be tasting some of the best spirits and cocktail/mixed drinks in the World. If you finished every drink offered, you would die.  I’m serious.

The number of full glasses I had to put down was so upsetting but a friend reminded me that I was supposed to be tasting the drinks also, so think of it as similar to a wine tasting. Obviously you can drink some of your favorites, but pace yourself.   On our first visit we were wasted by 2pm on day one and struggled to get through the week…this year we know better.

Rookie Move: Play all day, Dance all night

Solution: Get some sleep, if only for an hour.

The events on offer are immense and run from 9am to 2am daily with a variety of after parties, after after parties and 5am meet ups at Absinthe house! You will often find yourself thinking ‘When the hell can I go to bed?!’ However take in to account that a lot of the events (especially tastings and seminars) are repeated throughout the week.  Listen to your body, when you feel you need to crash, do it.

Rookie Move: Who needs water, give me Gin.

Solution: Drink NON-Alcoholic drinks too

It is hot as hell in New Orleans during July so make sure you have a bottle of water or pedialyte close by to keep you refreshed. Coconut water was the beverage of choice last year.

All the alcohol will dehydrate you, add that to the sticky heat and it creates a pretty dangerous environment for your body if you don’t take it seriously. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Rookie Move: “It’s weird how i’m not hungry”

Solution: For Gods sake, eat something!

I don’t remember much of Tales 2011, and even less about the food.  Some events will have snacks to nibble on but these aren’t exactly a meal so don’t rely on them alone.  There are some great restaurants and places to grab a Po-boy or grits in New Orleans so make an effort to head there.

The beignets at Cafe Du Monde are a definite must. We ate them daily! People always say ‘Don’t drink on an empty stomach’ so as you’ll be constantly drinking it makes sense that you should make time to go eat something decent.

Rookie Move: 3am and your missing. Again.

Before we lost Dane…                                After we found him…

   

Solution: Charge your phone & Keep it close

I can’t tell you how many times we lost people who stumbled off, particularly our friend Dane (pictured above).  You may not be back in your hotel room very often, but try if you can to charge your phone between outings.  Yes the French Quarter is pretty safe, but this is still a big city and has big city dangers.

You will meet lots of new people, exchange plenty of business cards but it’s always safe to be able to contact your friends (or the police!) so keep your phone charged and easily accessible. Having a means of contact will also mean you can find out about the next secret party location…there are several!

Rookie Move: Do something crazy!

Solution: What happens in Tales… Goes on Facebook!

This isn’t Vegas, there are no ‘codes of conduct’ or rules of what can and cannot be written about.  If you talk to a blogger/journalist be sure to say the words ‘Off the record’ when divulging company secrets!

If I learnt anything about last year it’s that the photos taken (however terrible) end up on all the public forums. Bloggers, friends and work colleagues will happily tweet about your projectile vomit episode or instagram a snap of you with way too little clothing on, so be prepared for that to happen.

And if you’re the person taking the photos, try not to put the worst ones up…some of these men have wives back home!!! In all seriousness think before you do something you might regret and if you’re too drunk to think? Well, screw it. Don’t be mad at the person who found your behavior funny enough to post.

Tales 2012 runs from 24th July to 29th July this year. FutureGreg and I will be there again, hopefully no longer making these classic rookie moves.

Just so you know, this year there are many great Los Angeles bars, bartenders and writers up for nomination. The LA bars nominated are Harvard & Stone, La Descarga, The Varnish and Spare Room. It’s a really great time to represent LA and I wish everyone the best of luck in their category.  For those of you coming with us, see you in NOLA!

For more information on seminars, tickets etc head to their website www.TalesoftheCocktail.com.  I will be blogging and tweeting throughout the week so be sure to follow me on twitter @TheFussyOne1, on Instagram TheFussyOne and my boyfriend too @FutureGreg

See you in New Orleans…

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Drinks fit for a Queen!

umm…No. Not that Queen.

That’s Better… I give you, Queen Elizabeth II

This week-end the Brits, Aussies and Canadians, (and many others) will be celebrating the Queens Diamond Jubilee.  Several people (mainly my American friends) have asked me in the last few days what this actually means…so for those who don’t know, let me enlighten you.

On June 2nd 2012 it will be 6o years (yes, you heard correctly…60 years!!!) since Queen Elizabeth II took over the throne.  This is a huge accomplishment and quite a rare feat, her reign is actually the second-longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer (so far).  Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne at age 25 after the death of her father, King George VI and was crowned as Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Other Realms and Territories on June 2, 1953 in the first televised Coronation service.

Sticking to my websites theme of Mixology and recipe history, I thought it would be a nice idea to put up some drink ideas to mark this momentous occasion.  There are many parties that will be going on throughout the World this week-end, and I know my family and friends in the UK will be relying on me to give some drink suggestions…so here we go.

Photo Credit: spiritedentertaining.com

Diamond Fizz

  • 2 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Powdered sugar
  • Fill with Chilled Champagne

Shake and strain ingredients in to a highball glass with ice, then fill with Champagne.

This drink works for two reasons, it has the perfect name to match the Diamond Jubilee year and it has champagne in it, which is the classic celebration tipple of choice!

Also known as a Champagne Fizz, this drink is similar to the classic Gin Fizz although it uses Champagne rather than soda water.  It follows the fizz characteristic of being served over ice, which is unusual for a champagne beverage.

The first printed reference to a fizz (spelled “fiz”) is in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide, which contains six fizz recipes including the Ramos Gin Fizz (A great Ramos Gin Punch Recipe can be found by clicking here.) The above recipe makes for a nice and refreshing celebratory drink.

The Coronation Cocktail

  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz applejack or apple brandy
  • dash of apricot brandy

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

There couldn’t be a more fitting drink name for this occasion than The Coronation Cocktail.  There are a few variations out there with the same name, however this is the one I found to be the most ‘Classic’ in it’s history as it comes from The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book by A.S. Crockett published in 1935.  

It is a vermouth drink from the old days of bartending and really simple to make. It won’t appeal to everyone, but for those who like a strong ‘stiff upper lip’ kind of drink, this is the one to choose.  It does have some sweetness from the apple brandy and a friend mentioned that a dash of peach bitters works well in it also.

Photo Credit: Telegraph

Jubilee Punch

  • 35ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 25ml home-made grapefruit-orange sherbet (see below)
  • 15ml fresh lemon juice
  • 10ml Orgeat syrup
  • 30ml Earl Grey tea
  • Champagne to top up

Combine the ingredients and shake over ice, top up with champagne.

The grapefruit-orange sherbet is made by mixing 200g sugar, 100ml pink grapefruit juice, the zest of an orange and a grapefruit, then simmering until the sugar is dissolved. Double strain and allow to cool completely.

Please note: This recipe provides the British measurement of ml, if you wish to have the recipe in US oz feel free to message me and I will give you the alternative.

This is clearly a complicated recipe to create at home but I wanted to include it because it’s creator is Erik Lorincz, head barman at America Bar at The Savoy Hotel in London.

When I was last back home in the UK, my boyfriend and I went to America Bar and had a wonderful experience. The drinks were balanced, the staff were knowledgable and the place itself was simply, beautiful.  The bartenders all wear suits there, the glassware is made of crystal and the overall feel of the place is classic, formal and elegant. I read that it was at The Savoy Hotel that Princess Elizabeth (before she was Queen), was first seen in public with Prince Philip in 1946. That summer, Prince Philip asked King George VI’s permission to marry his daughter. They married later that year…  isn’t history interesting!?

Photo Credit: Beefeater Gin

Beefeater Garden Party Punch

  • 3 parts Beefeater London Dry Gin
  • 3 parts sparkling English wine
  • 2 parts good quality pressed pear or apple juice
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part elderflower cordial
  • 1/2 part sugar syrup
Garnish: Pear and apple slices.
 
Serve in a punch bowl over a large ice block

This last recipe is one I came across when googling the term ‘Jubilee drink ideas’.  I found out that Beefeater Gin has teamed up with mixologists Nick Strangeway and Dre Masso to create cocktails and punches to celebrate the Queen and her jubilee milestone.

This recipe looks the best to me and although I have not yet tried it, I think it sounds tasty and is the one I plan to make this coming week-end.  I love Elderflower in any drink with apple, so I think this recipe will have a very fresh and floral quality that is reminiscent of England.  Yet another drink ideal for the occasion and a punch is always a great option for large parties.

To all my fellow Brits who plan to celebrate this week-end, to my Fussy One followers and to everyone who plans to try one of the above cocktails… Enjoy, Be safe,  and as we say in England… Bottoms Up! 🙂

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Yes…I’ll have another!

Event: Kentucky Derby Party @ Seven Grand
Lunch @ Bottega Louie
Cinco De Mayo Celebrations @ Bar Chloe

Date: Saturday 5th May 2012

This past Saturday was quite literally a double drinking day for most of us here in the USA.  It was The Kentucky Derby Horse Race and Cinco De Mayo rolled in to one alcohol fueled package.

My day began at a fun filled event sponsored by Bulleit Bourbon in Downtown Los Angeles. Fellow drink enthusiasts and esteemed members of the alcohol community had gathered at Seven Grand to support ‘Speed Rack’ a wonderful organization that gives money towards Breast cancer research and helps women in the bar industry suffering from the disease.

As Hollis Bulleit (Brand ambassador for Bulleit Bourbon and daughter of it’s creator) said;

‘We’re here to donate and help sick boobies!’

Daniel (Thirsty in LA) sporting a pink mustache!

My boyfriend and I had a really good time, it was our first year at the event so we mingled, received Bulleit Bourbon glassware as gifts, joined in on fun hat competitions and pulled names of horses out of a hat to watch the race with. $20 to SpeedRack got you entry to the event and an unlimited supply of Bulleit Bourbon drinks, in particular the Mint Julep. I must say I never knew that the Mint Julep was known as ‘The Derby Drink’ until Saturday when my twitter blew up with photos of crushed ice and mint leaves from all the drink bloggers I follow.

For those who don’t know the drink (I will be putting it up as ‘Drink of the Week’ tomorrow,) I will say it is a very refreshing Whiskey based beverage that is sweet, minty and very cold! It’s always served over crushed ice, almost like an alcoholic slushy and is very good when made correctly. The bar men at Seven Grand didn’t disappoint.

When the race began I have to admit I was screaming pretty loud (think Audrey Hepburn in the 1964 film ‘My Fair Lady’), one because i’d had many a shot of bourbon by that point and two because there’s something really exciting about betting on something you have no power to control, I mean your horse will either win or lose.

I didn’t put any money on the race, which is probably a good thing seeing as my steed ‘Daddy Long Legs’ didn’t even come close to winning! However the horse named I’ll Have Another took the title and I thought ‘What a perfect winner for the day.’

You see it just so happened that the Kentucky Derby fell on Cinco de Mayo this year. For all my British readers or those who just don’t know, Cinco De Mayo (Spanish for ‘5th of May’) is basically an American holiday that disguises itself as a Mexican one! The date is observed now mainly by Americans as a celebration of Mexican heritage, and to commemorate the Mexicans win against France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Many people think Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, however this is untrue, their independence day is actually celebrated on September 16. My good friend Saul is 100% Mexican and came to California a few years ago, I thought if anyone would be celebrating the day it would be him. Ironically though, when I asked if he was excited for the day he said “Not really, it’s not our (Mexicans) holiday so we don’t celebrate Cinco De Mayo” 

Whilst in Downtown FutureGreg and I decided to stop in at Bottega Louie for lunch (still my favorite restaurant) and ended up trying the incredible new Artichoke Pizza.  I strongly urge you to get this pizza, it was simply fantastic.

Artichoke Pizza- Roasted Artichokes, Chèvre, Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes, Italian Parsley, Fluer de Sel, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Tomato Sauce $20

I ended up heading to Bar Chloe in Santa Monica for the second half of the day and the Cinco De Mayo celebrations, the bar staff wore Sombreros and served Tequila based drinks to the rowdy crowds and yes, I wore a Poncho to get in to the Mexican theme of the night!

All in all it was a wonderful day, and helped immensely by the new metro they’ve installed between La Cienega and Downtown LA. What a God send…We didn’t have to worry about parking or drunk driving, it was just 30 minutes door to door. Brilliant!

We will definitely consider doing the Kentucky Derby party again next year. Only next time I will be sure to wear a fun ‘Day at the races’ themed hat like the ones below.  These images were taken at the actual Kentucky Derby 2012, I got the photos from http://www.abcnews.com.  The red one is just FAB!

  

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Spring into Sadie

Event: Spring Menu Release

Sadie
1638 N Las Palmas Ave,
Los Angeles, CA, 90028

*****

Last week I found myself with a handful of local writers and bloggers for a sit down dinner at Sadie in Hollywood.  Chef Mark Gold of Eva Restaurant has been shaking things up in the Kitchen at Sadie, and this event was to showcase their new Spring Menu.

Our table was in the courtyard area which I was excited about as I hadn’t yet experienced this area of the restaurant.  Despite the chilly evening we were kept toasty warm by the outside heaters and new overhead awning.  The place has a romantic setting, especially the spot lit water moat that surrounds the patio and creates movements of light on the stone walls.

Each food item on the menu was carefully paired with a drink, designed and created by the talented bar staff.  Giovanni Martinez in collaboration with a number of team members at the bar have made a truly wonderful and varied drinks list. I have mentioned the bar scene in previous posts so I won’t go in to too much detail again, however I will say that I am never disappointed with the drinks at Sadie.

Our feast began with a delightfully refreshing drink called Temperado, which had a fresh taste and a subtle cilantro flavor that cleansed the palette before eating.  It had some heat to it from the Jalepeno, but it wasn’t overly spicy.

Temperado- Cachaca, Avion Silver Tequila, Lime juice, Fresh Cilantro and Jalepeno

The first dish to come out was a mini salad called a ‘Little Gem’.  It had a lot of flavor for its small size. The crispy ham, crunchy lettuce leaf and creamy garlic sauce complimented each other beautifully.  Next came an organic egg, described in the menu as ‘representing Spring’, which had a beautifully runny yolk, a hollandaise style sauce with peas and pansies (the flower!) and a grilled spring onion.  It was another very tasty little bite size appetizer.

            

After these first dishes we tried a local Heffeweizen (by Golden Road) and the Piscoteca drink.  The cocktail was interesting with ginger and honey notes, it had a bright flavor from the Yuzu and Lime juice but the citric acidity didn’t mask the Pisco and the drink itself was nicely balanced.

Piscoteca- Italia Pisco, Homegrown mint, Ginger honey syrup, Fresh lime juice, Yuzu bitters

A selection of share plates appeared for the table and we were able to sample the Pork belly, Pei mussels, Lamb meatballs and Oysters.  All the starters were tasty, although my only complaints were that the meatballs seemed slightly over seasoned and the Yuzu Kosho salty spiciness on the pork belly was a little too overpowering for my tastes.

Lamb Meatballs- Whipped sheep milk yoghurt

These two dishes were by no means bad, they just didn’t appeal to me personally.

Pork Belly- Yuzu Kosho, Spring Onions

The mussels however were wonderful and there was a definite sweetness to the dish.  It was creamy, rich and the Chorizo pieces gave a nice texture.

Glazed Pei Mussels- Potato Mouselline, Chorizo, Smoked Almond

Our Entree choices included Chicken, Fish, Pasta and Steak.  Seeing as everyone at the table was a writer/food critic/blogger etc we were all more than willing to give each other tasters of our dishes, so I had a chance to try them all.

The Chicken was wonderful.  It was flavorful, juicy and had crispy shallots on top that gave a nice textural element. I didn’t really notice the mushrooms, but I only had a small section of this meal and it may have been more prominent if i’d eaten the entire dish.

Organic Rocky Chicken- Crispy mushroom, Chicken Jus, Shallot and Chive

The Halibut was fantastic, my favorite of all the dishes.  It was light and flaky, not at all fishy or dry and the grilled asparagus was an excellent accompaniment. Bacon pieces and an Onion relish gave a light sweetness that was a nice addition for the fish also.

Wild Alaskan Halibut- Grilled Asparagus, Bacon and Onion Relish

The pasta dish was a ‘Linguine with Clams’ which I found a little too citric for my tastes and had almost a white wine vinegar flavor going on, everyone else seemed to enjoy it but it wasn’t what I expected. The steak was good, the meat was tender and well cooked and the vegetables were tasty but the dish itself didn’t Wow me, it was just OK.

Prime Rib Eye “Cap”- Charred Onion, Borderlasise, Salsa Verde

Drinks paired with the meal were all great and bursting with interesting flavors.  My favorite was the drink that paired with the Halibut called ‘Friar Fresh’.  It was such a simple but easy to drink beverage and had just the right combination of sweet from the honey and citric from the grapefruit.  I highly recommend ordering that drink.

Friar Fresh- Plymouth Gin, Velvet Falernum, Lemon Juice, Honey, Grapefruit juice

At the end an array of desserts appeared, including Doughnuts (made in house).  The doughnuts were delicious, and reminded me of beignets but with crystalized sugar as apposed to powdered sugar.  They came with a creamy irish coffee cream dipping sauce that tasted like a thick version of Baileys. Yum!

The best dessert in my opinion however came in the form of ‘floats.’  I could (and probably will) write an entire post on these floats alone. The ice-cream mixed with bitters was just divine.  It was creamy, sweet with just the right amount of a bitter twist at the end of each sip.  The chip was also tasty, and the Mexican coke gave it a nice bubbly sweetness.  Both reminded me of ‘Ice Cream Sodas’ I used to drink in the summer in England, they were refreshing and will be a great drink to sip on in the sunshine.

Fernet and Chip Float- Fernet and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream on Mexican Coke

Bitter Float- Peychauds bitter ice cream on Sanbitter Italian Soda

Overall the entire meal was a huge success in my opinion.  I have returned to Sadie on several occasions since it opened, with the intention of writing a review, however I never really had any dish that excited me enough to write about it.  This tasting evening, with the addition of Chef Mark gave me the kick to want to write about them.

The food is no longer good, it’s great and the drinks having always been nothing short of excellent, are now truly outstanding.  This place should be packed with customers and as soon as word really gets out, I believe it will be. From the gorgeous decor to the friendly staff, the romantic ambience and now the food that matches the fantastic drinks…this is nothing short of an excellent night out.

5 out of 5 Coupes

Drinks get my highest rating now, due to the addition of the truly imaginative and incredibly tasty floats.  All the bartenders know their drinks from Classic to Contemporary, everything i’ve tried has been balanced and interesting.

4.5 out of 5 Platters

All of the dishes and cocktails I described in this post are currently available for Spring time at Sadie.  If you haven’t been already, I suggest you make your way over there soon, if only to enjoy one of the delicious floats on the patio.

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A Sporting Celebration!

Event:  Sporting Life 4 year Anniversary
Location: Petit Ermitage
8822 Cynthia Street, West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 854-1114.

.

Sporting Life is a bartender Networking Group (by invitation only) that consists of Bartenders, their significant others, Liquor Reps, Cocktail enthusiasts and those truly in search of a great drink in Los Angeles.

The committee members Tatsu Oiye, Eric Tecosky, Joe Keeper, Glenn Gritzner, Marcos Tello and Aidan Demarest were there in full force this fine sunny Sunday, and as always did a great job creating an enjoyable afternoon.  They are a talented group of individuals on their own and a necessity to the cocktail community in Los Angeles.  Together they organize these wonderful events once a month, at a different bar/location across the city and so far with a different drink sponsor each time.  It’s really impressive.  I can’t believe only a few months ago I was embarrassed to join my boyfriend at these events because I didn’t know anyone, and now I enter recognizing so many faces and truly feel I am hanging out with friends.

The cocktail community in the city of Los Angeles is so ridiculously supportive of each other, it still astounds me.  If something is happening in the City this group of enthusiasts makes an effort to show their support.

Marcos Tello made his usual announcements of bars opening, events happening and guest bartending locations across the city, then legendary mixology icon Dale Degroff stopped by to give a little speech.

A host of regulars attended this Sunday due to it’s Anniversary status, that included fellow blogger Caroline on Crack (who I am yet to meet in person, but keep attending events and then discovering she was also there!), Giovanni Martinez (Sadie), Brandon Reynolds (Townhouse), Louis Anderman (MMBitters), Zahra Bates (Providence), Francois Vera (Harvard & Stone) and Greg Bryson (Bar Chloe) to name just a handful.

Then we had the drinking… Sponsor this month was Sailor Jerry Rum.  I rather like Sailor Jerry, but I know a few bartenders who weren’t such a huge fan of the brand at the start but ended up being thoroughly impressed by the drinks made with it at this event.  The drinks list was put together by Brian Stewart and consisted of 3 drinks, one of which was a true favorite of mine, a classic Daiquiri.  I proceeded to sit and drink Daiquiris like lemonade all day, because they were made perfectly. Sweet, refreshing and balanced.  My boyfriend FG had ‘The Deck Hand’ which he said tasted like a vanilla spiced Mai tai and found it to be extremely flavorful and delicious also.

The Deck Hand- Sailor Jerry, Orgeat, Lime, Maracshino liquere, Bitters

There were a variety of nibbles going around too. I had a chocolate croissant, yoghurt with granola and a few mini burgers.  It was true “Bartenders Breakfast” type food and all were delicious.

Petit Ermitage is a very quaint boutique hotel hidden away on a residential street.   It has the ‘Celebrity status’ of places like Chateaux Marmont, only it’s not as pretentious. This has a much more intimate feel to it.  The rooftop bar/pool area where we had the event is for hotel guests or members only.  It had the most gorgeous garden area and views of Los Angeles all around and a heated pool that Tatsu ended up in, but I couldn’t bring myself to get in (the wind was too chilly.)  The hotel has a really interesting French/Venetian decor and a fairy tale like quality to it.  The entrance was so beautiful with a floral stained glass arch way and vines growing up the sides. It was like I was entering a ‘Secret Garden’.  For more details and photos of this hotel check out their website here.

The Sporting Life Anniversary was a huge success and I had a great time (probably a little too great from some of the photos emerging!) I look forward to seeing everyone again at next months event. Where and When…we just have to wait and see! 🙂

For the record: Petit Ermitage has a very strict no camera policy but with ‘photographic consent’ we were able to get a couple of photos of the event itself. Some of the photos in this post were taken by myself, however the professional style (i.e Good ones), were taken by Tatsu Oiye.

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A really NEAT Art show!

"Shaken" 18" x 24" Oil on linen

Event: The Matt Talbert Art Show

@ Neat

1114 North Pacific Avenue

Glendale,

California, 91201

*

I have always had an interest in Art, I took Art History in high school and my mother is an artist in the UK.  I have also, as you all know from my blog, found an interest in drinking and the world of Mixology. So what could be better, than a night that incorporated both of these passions?!

Last night I found myself at Neat (oh that Aidan Demarest always makes it worth the trek to Glendale) for the Matt Talbert art show.  Ironically I didn’t find out about this through Aidan or Sporting Life, I actually came across it when googling the term ‘Mixology Paintings’ and couldn’t believe my luck when I learnt about Talbert’s paintings and in turn his show coming up in LA.

Who is Matt Talbert?

Matt is a fine art painter, specifically using the medium of oils.  He studied at The Orange County High School of the Arts and then earned a BFA in Illustration at the Laguna College of Art & Design. He left college to pursue his artistic talent professionally, moving to New York City for inspiration before moving back to California.

I went on his website and saw his ‘Figures and Portraits’ and ‘Cityscapes’ first, and was immediately captivated by the way he paints. His images of people in particular are fantastic.  I love his texture and imagery. He has a verisimilitude photographic quality to his work, liquids and glassware are particularly hard to convey in oil, but he appears to do this with ease and effortlessness. His cocktail series, was of course the area that really caught my eye.  This is taken from his website Bio and is written by Matt himself;

“…my current series revolves around my fascination with the growing craft cocktail movement in America.  Whether I am painting a cocktail, a figure or a cityscape, my core motivation is to capture the seemingly normal moments in life, that upon a closer look become extraordinary.”

The minute I saw his cocktail paintings I knew I had to get one.  Neat was a great venue to hold this event as the walls are normally a black bare space and therefore acted as a great blank canvas, so to speak, to visualize the paintings clearly.

Also, his drink work fit perfectly with the venue.  Who’d have thought to put an art show at a bar? Genius. Sipping on cocktails whilst looking at paintings of them was something new to me, but very enjoyable.

This one (below) I think is particularly clever for the drink enthusiasts, it is called ‘Prepare for Takeoff’ and is a deconstructed ‘Aviation cocktail’ still-life.

"Prepare for Takeoff" 16" x 20" Oil on linen

At the show there was an image of Neat’s owner Aidan Demarest. The likeness is uncanny, and knowing Aidan personally I was really impressed by the cheeky quality he managed to capture in a subtle smile.  It also showcases Matts talent for painting people with such an accuracy and attention to detail.

"Aidan Demarest" 16" x 20" Oil on linen

I met Matt and really liked him, he is easy to talk to (trust me, some artists are very introvert and strange individuals, Matt thankfully is not!) He told me his local hang out became ‘320 Main‘ in Seal beach (a great spot  I will be reviewing properly in due course) and that became inspiration for a number of his paintings. Including this one, (American Bar man) of Jason Schiffer (head bartender and owner of 320 Main)

"An American Bar Man" 18" x 24" Oil on linen

I personally fell in love with two paintings “Finishing Touch” and “Double Strained”(see below). It took a good 2 hours trying to decide between the two of them. Whilst I did, I got to enjoy a great ‘Flowing Bols’ (Bols Genever) Punch that bartender Arash Pakzad behind the bar gave me. It was a punch made with pineapple, raspberries, Luxardo Maraschino liquor, Lemon, sugar and soda water.  It was a very refreshing and sweet summery drink, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Marcos Tello (Part of ‘Tello Demarest Liquid Assets’) was giving a Bols Genever tasting at the back of the room.   In October 2011 I went to Amsterdam and the Bols Genever museum, so I was particularly interested to see it being talked about in the US.  Bols Genever is an interesting spirit that pre dates Gin. It smells funky to me and can be hard to mask its strong flavors when mixed in drinks, but alone it has a floral quality  that is different and interesting.  I have to admit I prefer Gin, because I find the pine and clove notes of Bols a little overbearing but if you have never tried it, it’s worth a go.  It was great ‘slurping’ on a shot and hearing Tello talk about its history and origins.  For more information on this spirit, check out their website here.

After debating with myself, texting my boyfriend and chatting to Matt I finally made a purchase and am the proud owner of ‘Double Strained’ (below). It is perfect for me due to my love of Coupes, Clover clubs and the Bar industry.  Thank you Matt for creating this masterpiece, I will hang it with pride in our home bar 🙂

Double Strained 11" x 14" Oil on linen

I am a strong believer in supporting artists, and to me that means buying originals as apposed to prints whenever possible.  If you ever see a piece of art that you love, but think it’s too expensive make sure you take in to account the cost of materials, the cost of education of the artist to hone his craft and the hourly it would take to make it.  I also read a great quote at school I liked, which is good to think about when purchasing art;

‘An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.’ James Whistler

As an artist myself I can completely understand why paintings are expensive, and Oil is in my opinion a particularly difficult medium to work with. Matt’s work is all extremely reasonably priced and I urge you to have a look on his site (click here) or visit Neat in the coming month to see his current paintings for sale.  Below are a few more of his paintings for you to enjoy…

"Finishing Touch"

"With a Twist"

"Bitter Cube"

"The Pour"

"2 Across"

A true likeness! Aidan and Aidan!!!

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