Tag Archives: Aidan Demarest

The ART of drinking!

Today I feel compelled to talk about a wonderful  member of the drinking industry in Los Angeles.

No, he is not a bartender, beverage director or blogger… he is an artist. One I have mentioned in the past, but have reason to bring up again today. I am talking about Matt Talbert.

Matt is an artist from Southern California who currently resides in LA with his lovely wife Ashley and gorgeous new baby Luke.

I have always loved art, both viewing the works of others and also creating my own. My mother is an artist, and most of my family is creative in one way or another.  It’s because of this I feel I have an appreciation for artistic skill that not everyone seems to share and seeing as truly great artists are few and far between these days, I believe the great ones need to be acknowledged because they are a vital part of any community.

Jason Schiffer

Matt Talbert is an exceptionally talented artist, in his own right, but he has made it to my food and drink blog because of his incredible skills in being able to capture bar images. He has painted a number of relevant bartenders in the LA scene, including Aidan Demarest, Mindy Kucan and Jason Schiffer…. to name a few.  The detail in which he captures facial expressions is wonderful, but his works of glassware and alcohol are my particular favorites.  I love how he captures glass and fluids so realistically. Flaming Mai Tai

I bought one of his pieces last year entitled “Double Strained” (which is the pink drink in the series of images below) I still adore this painting, however I wanted to show off my most recent purchase of his work.

Matt's work

Matt created the oil painting (below) of my boyfriend, Beverage director and bar man Greg Bryson, and myself (complete with the FussyOne Clover Club) in April this year. I love it so much that I felt the need to show all my followers too! For those who know him, he has captured Greg perfectly (the intense concentration when shaking is a definite Greg feature) and my loving gaze as I watch the love of my life work, many would say is pretty accurate too!Futuregreg and the fussy one

Matt is an artist I am always willing to talk about. The more works he creates the more impressed I am. Check out his other paintings (not just cocktail themed) at his website www.talbertart.com.

I believe Matt is on his way to being a World wide success and if you have the opportunity to buy one of his works whilst they’re still affordable… I say, do it!

Matt with his work!
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My Tale of Tales 2012

I can’t quite believe that it’s already been nearly two weeks since I returned from the sticky summer heat of New Orleans!…So much for blogging as I went along!?

I could use the excuse that there was just no time to blog, but lets be honest, I was more often than not far too intoxicated busy to document correctly!  What can I say though, this was the 10 year anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC)!

Many of my blogging companions have long since posted there highlights from the trip, but one of the reasons I have taken so long to write this post is because I am almost overwhelmed with where to begin.  There were many more parties, tastings and seminars than I have space to cover here so I am going to give a very brief break down of the events that interested, excited or inspired myself and my darling mixologist boyfriend FutureGreg (FG) in particular. This isn’t to say that there weren’t many more during the week that were great, these are just the ones that stood out and made it to MY tale of Tales.

Lets begin at the beginning…

On the shuttle from Louis Armstrong airport to our hotel in French Quarter we found ourselves stuck in a fair bit of traffic due to the arrival of President Obama, who was visiting for the day. Ok, so this isn’t really all that relevant to TOTC, but come on, what a cool start to have the President wave at some of the World’s best bartenders!

An Absolut Welcome

Event: Absolut Welcome Party       Location: Contemporary Arts Center

First stop was the Absolut Welcome party.  For those of you who read my posts regularly, you might recall I reported on the Absolut Stuga event last month for Tasting Panel Magazine.  In that piece I noted how Absolut had managed to bring Sweden to Hollywood with the placement of small swedish cottages and snowy white trees around the room…fast forward to Wednesday night and I found myself again standing in Sweden, only this time I was in New Orleans.

The Absolut team had done a great job transforming the Contemporary Art Museum in to a Swedish landscape, complete with falling snow. I must mention, the snow was a beautiful touch but proved to be extremely impractical. I think I must have choked on at least 12 bubbly flakes blowing in the air and had many more land in my drinks, which was somewhat annoying and impossible to avoid.

Takafumi Yamada pours the Absolut

The event itself was nicely done though.  Blue lights made the room appear cold and wintery, which was a pleasant change from the humidity outside.  There were drink stations set up representing different areas of the World too. My favorites were Absolut Japan and Absolut Italia.

Hidetsugu Ueno had created the Absolut Diamond Tea drink that used local Japanese Honey and Japanese Tea a long with regular Absolut vodka.  The tea was a prominent flavor, but the drink itself was balanced and had a nice sweetness to it from the honey.  It was served over an ice ball that was skillfully carved in front of us using a Japanese ceramic knife.

Over at Absolut Italia I enjoyed a very different kind of drink, the Coppa Di Fiori.  This was made with Absolut Citron, Cynar, Lemon juice, Mint, Simple syrup and Tonic water. It was certainly bitter, but still very enjoyable….even for my sweet tooth!

Later in the evening Simon Ford, Gary Reagan, Nick Strangeway and Lynnette Marrero performed the song ‘Take a chance” by ABBA which was both hilarious and slightly disturbing! haha

   

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOTC

Event: William Grant & Sons     Location: New Orleans Museum of Art

Buses courtesy of TOTC shuttled us off to the 10 year Birthday Bash put on by William Grant & Sons.  On the ride we indulged in Hendricks flavored ice creams before arriving at an even grander Art Museum with giant candles lining the drive.

There was so much to see at this party I can only touch on a few of my favorite areas.  The Hendricks Gin spectacle was very peculiar, the bartenders would make drinks at the top of the roof and pour them down to the glasses below.

Inside there were delicious appetizers, desserts and drink selections provided by Glenfiddich and Belvenie.  Outside there was a ‘Slap and tickle village’ (which had bartenders shaking drinks whilst jumping on trampolines), a giant birthday card to sign and burlesque dancers.

There were photo booths, clowns, a fireworks display and plenty of cocktails to be had in amongst the artwork. As fellow blogger Dave Stolte pointed out…

“A Henry Moore statue can also double as an impromptu drinks stand in New Orleans!”

Japanese Whisky, fill me up!

Seminar: Non-Stop to Kyoto     Presented by: Neyah White & Gardner Dunn

The seminar that really stood out to myself and FG on this trip was ‘Non-Stop to Kyoto’ which was put together by Neyah White and Gardner Dunn.  This was a really relaxing experience and a great escape from the craziness of Tales.

The room had been transformed in to a little Japanese hut, with a great selection of some of the best Japanese Whiskies available, ranging from Hibiki 30 year to 1984 Yamazaki Single Malt. We each sat down at our own little table and were given a blending kit with a selection of whiskies in test tubes. Neyah explained that there was no right or wrong way to put together our own drink, it was simply a teaching aid to help understand how master blenders come up with combinations.  I actually really enjoyed my creation, it was a little smoky, a little sweetness and not too hot.

I tried the Yamizaki 1984 and really liked it, it was very smooth with no dramatic heat despite being 96 proof.  It had a slight cinnamon nose which I am told could come from the Japanese Oak it’s aged in. It is named after the year 1984 which was the first time they felt their product was good enough to serve as a single malt, before that date Suntory had only ever produced blended whisky.

Small bites, which included a delicious ‘Scrambled egg on vanilla brioche with bacon caramel’, ‘Banana Mochi’ and ‘Spicy caramel popcorn’ was provided by World famous Chef Michael Mina, as you can imagine the dishes were incredible and I wish there had been more.  The spicy sweet popcorn brought out interesting flavors in the whisky too.

Ooh how that pig packs a punch!

Event: Bon Vivants Pig & Punch    Location: Washington Sq Park

The Pig and Punch party had us drinking a variety of creations out of trash cans, yes you heard correctly, trash cans.  Obviously they were clean and filled to the brim with alcohol and fruits, but it was quite an experience to say the least. The highlight of the event was when 4 men carried the cooked beast in and placed it on a fire pit while a classic New Orleans brass band played bouncy songs as if it were a Jazz funeral.

There was plenty of food on offer.  I had sausages with Templeton rye that were awesome and some incredible sorbets and gelatos created by Luxardo and La Divina Gelateria. My favorite flavor was the peach amaretto sorbet, which was like eating liquid marzipan. Just delicious!

Crawl to the Brawl

Event: Bar Room Brawl   Location: Generations Hall

I have to say, this was a little bit of a cluster f!@k to get in to.  There were long lines and too many people on the guest lists, but once inside it was well worth the wait.  For those who don’t know, the idea behind Bar room brawl is to find the best bar in the US, voted in by the industry.

This year saw no Los Angeles bars nominated so FG and I decided to cheer for The Passenger/Columbia Room of DC.  My review of Washington DC is coming soon, but even if we’d never been or met the incredibly talented Derek Brown we still LOVED all the drinks that this bar produced that night.

Beretta from San Francisco won the title of best bar, and Bar Manager Ryan Fitzgerald collected the trophy.

We weren’t by any means disappointed with this win, it was nice to have a Californian bar take the title even if it wasn’t LA. Having been to Beretta ourselves just this past January, I can attest to the fact that the restaurant and bar program there is truly fantastic.

It was at Beretta that I finally found out I liked brussel sprouts (after Ryan forced me to try them)…it was one of the first times I had been convinced to try something ugly and green! That particular experience was one of the reasons I started the FussyOne blog a month later, to be able to tell others like myself, “it’s ok to try scary green vegetables!”

Tastings

There were several tasting rooms and vans that popped up during the week, below are just a few of the drinks and products I enjoyed the most.

Giovanni Martinez representing Chivas Regal gave me a cocktail named ‘The Green Room’ which had Carpano Antica Formulae, Clear Creek Pear Liqueur, Miracle Mile Toasted Pecan Bitters, and Chivas 12 yr.  The entire cocktail was aged in glass with oak staves that had originally stored barley wine. The drink itself was served straight up and was really strong, but full of interesting flavors.

  

Ben Davidson, The National Spirits Ambassador for Pernod Ricard Australia had prepared two other cocktails that included Chivas and were barrel-aged. These were also very strong, and tasty.  I find that the new craze of barrel-aging cocktails is a great one, it gives complexity to certain drinks and softens other. I look forward to seeing more barrel-aged cocktails coming to bars in Los Angeles soon.

I tasted the White Montanya Rum for the first time and was pretty impressed by the product as a whole.  It had a slight nuttiness to it and wasn’t at all harsh like most white rums.  I am generally a dark rum drinker but the rep. explained that they age this rum in oak then filter it through coconut husk charcoal so it retains the flavor, but removes the color.  Nice little product.

Nick Strangeway introduced us to his new Absolut Craft line at the Flavor Innovation Workshop, which was held at the creepy historical Pharmacy Museum.  He gave a really interesting talk on how he came up with and created the three new flavors he’s produced with the Absolut vodka brand.  The three flavors he’s created are Smokey Tea, Herbaceous Lemon and Bitter Cherry. 

The Herbaceous Lemon was very interesting, because although it had a strong citric flavor Nick explained it had no actual lemon or citrus in it. He wanted to create a citrus vodka with no citrus, just using citrus flavored herbs.  He certainly achieved this because it tasted like fresh lemon zest was incorporated, but instead he had chosen to use Lemon Mertyl, Lemongrass and Lemon Thyme to create the strong lemon flavor.  It was very original and an interesting concept.

The Bitter Cherry, was indeed bitter and not really my favorite but The Smokey Tea was a really fantastic product.  It had a really nice smokiness to it which we later enjoyed in a pineapple-tini style drink that was probably one of the best drinks we had the entire trip!

All good things must come to an end…

Like I said at the start, this post can only touch on a few of my favorite parts of the trip.  Juniperlooza, The Rum & Reggae pool party, The Macallan Ice Ball plunge and The Pink Pigeon Spirited dinner were all noteworthy events also, but I could go on and on so I have to stop somewhere.

Below I have thrown in a bunch of photos that can touch on the mayhem that I simply don’t have room to write about…

                         

Please note, there were a number of Bars and Restaurants that FG and I visited separate from the Tales debauchery, including Commanders Palace, Cure, Arnauds and The Carousel Bar.  I will be writing a separate post about these soon so be sure to look out for that in coming weeks.

There’s really nothing left to say now, except…

Here’s to another 10 years of Tales! 😀

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An ABSOLUTely great event

As many of you will have noticed, I haven’t had a chance to write my blog in a while. I’ve been working, drinking, traveling, eating, drinking, at industry events and yes, more drinking! I finally have a little time to report back on my experiences before I head to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail in 2 weeks.  There will be new posts going up shortly so be sure to check in again soon.

In “Fussy One News” I would like to let you know that another piece of my writing has been published in this months issue (July 2012) of The Tasting Panel Magazine.

This is the second time i’ve been fortunate enough to have my words in print (See May issue) and I was thrilled at the chance to cover the ‘Absolut Stuga’ event that was held in Hollywood last month.

I had been planning to attend the Stuga event long before I was asked to cover it for the magazine, so I was even more excited to be there when I had the task of interviewing bartenders and industry professionals (most of whom are now my very good friends!) 🙂

I have been to several Absolut events in the past so knew it would be a fun occasion, because if anyone knows how to throw a good party, it’s definitely Absolut.  This event was certainly great fun and entertaining, however it differed from previous years because there was a far more prominent focus on education regarding the product and it’s development this time.

Experts from Sweden, London and New York had been flown in to teach us about the process, distillation and marketing behind the iconic brand. It actually made for a very informative and interesting evening, and completely different to what I had expected.

Time for some product tasting

I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised to learn so many facts about the brand that actually impressed me. As most of my readers know, Vodka is not my go-to alcohol of choice, mainly due to the fact I find it to have no real flavor profile.  However, I was throughly intrigued by the history and ‘one source’ philosophy that Absolut adheres to.

Did you know that the winter wheat, the purist water, the distilling, bottling and packaging for Absolut all takes place in one very tiny region in Sweden?! It literally all comes from ‘one source’…near the city of Åhus in Skåne County, Sweden.

A small community of local Swedish farmers, millers and workers are the team behind one of the biggest Vodka brands in the World, which I think is really quite remarkable.

Toby  Cecchini makes his Cosmo

I have a new found respect for the company as a whole especially when I heard first hand that some of the farmers have worked with the brand for over 25 years.

I admit, I always assumed Absolut was just another big brand that was only popular because it was pushed by clever advertising, however the Stuga event (named after Swedish cottages) was designed to shed new light on their product, which it certainly did for me.

I also hadn’t appreciated that the flavored versions of their product use no false or added flavorings.

They steep 100% real fruit in the vodka making it a far more subtle flavor but not fake tasting like many of it’s flavored vodka competitors.

The Absolut tasted great in the cocktails that were on offer throughout the evening, I particularly enjoyed ‘Our Man in Zanilla’ which was sweet, floral and very refreshing.

Our Man in Zanilla- ABSOLUT Vodka, Manzanilla Sherry, Elderflower Liqueur, Grapefruit Zest

The event was spread over 2 days at Paramount Studios. Day One was for industry only and Day Two (yes, I did both!) was open to the public.  We ate unusual foods prepared by Animal restaurant, learnt a thing or two about the brand, drank punch, had t-shirts printed, told stories and danced the night away to the DJ.  A great experience that everyone I spoke to thoroughly enjoyed.

Check out the article I wrote for the magazine by clicking here and seeing the online version of the July issue.  My piece starts on page 67 and is a 3 page photo essay about the Absolut event.

Marcos and Vincenzo hug it out!

You can also subscribe for the printed version of the magazine from their website, which I highly recommend for those with a serious interest in the alcohol industry.

Please note the photos in this blog are my personal photos from the event, however the ones used in The Tasting Panel article were taken by Erica Bartel.

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Again, big thanks to the Editors of Tasting Panel (in particular, Rachel Burkons) for giving this little British blogger another chance to have their work published…I hope to work for you again soon.

A continued thanks to all my Fussy Readers too, I still can’t believe how many of you there are and I appreciate the support.

KEEP FOLLOWING, DRINKING AND TRYING NEW THINGS!

The Fussy One 🙂

 

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Bagatelle

Bagatelle
755 north la cienega
Los angeles, CA
90069

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I went to an industry event at Bagatelle recently, which is the new bar/restaurant replacing Coco Deville inside STK in Hollywood.  I have to admit, I wasn’t too excited to be going there initially purely because I had bad memories of it’s original establishment, however I was pleasantly surprised by how different it is to the former night club

The restaurant area has a similar vibe to Fig and Olive across the street. The bar has a pristine white marble top, the dining area has a romantic candle lit setting, there are beautiful chandeliers everywhere and delicate detailing that extends to the vent covers.

I arrived when it was still sunny out and liked how light and clean the place looked, it was elegant and modern with bright white lines everywhere.

The Bagatelle symbol (a silhouette of a woman’s head that sort of reminds me of medusa) and the ornate plaster moldings around the restaurant brought ‘Jasperware’ to mind.  Jasperware are pottery pieces originally designed by Josiah Wedgewood, a British potter from 18th Century whose signature pieces are matte ceramics of carved or moulded classical figures and silhouettes, usually heads.  The Jasperware basalt black with white figurine (shown in the picture below) sprung to my mind as soon as I entered the restaurant, mainly because of the Bagatelle symbol but also because of all the stencil shapes and raised white moldings that surround the room on the banisters and the staircase.

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Zach Patterson is the head barman here and designed a drink menu that works well for the different genres of customer that come through the door.  There are great options for the Mixology geeks of this town, as well as a couple of strategically placed vodka drinks that will appeal to the general Hollywood drinker.  Zach himself is a wonderful character to witness in action, he’s always vibrant and full of energy behind the bar.

I started with ‘The girl from Lima’ which was spicy but had a citric juiciness and slight sweetness.  It got hotter the more I drank it but the passionfruit kept it balanced and drinkable.

Girl from Lima- Jalapeño infused Machu Pisco, passion fruit puree, fresh lemon juice, a dash of mint

The second drink I tried I liked the most.  The drink itself is hot pink due to the prickly pear puree.  It had a great Basil nose, the Aperol helped prevent it from being overly sweet and the color was gorgeous.  I think it would’ve worked well with Gin instead of Vodka, but I understand the need for a few Vodka drinks on a Hollywood drinks list so I didn’t complain.

Tommy (my friendly bartender) told me that when they were trying to come up with a name for the drink the staff had at least 5 possible options and couldn’t pick one, then one day someone said “Hey Remember when hot pink was really cool?” and the name ‘Remember when’ stuck.

Remember When- Belvedere, Prickly Pear, Aperol, Fresh Lemon juice,  Fresh Basil

The food is french and although it was very good, I found it to be a little overpriced.  The chicken dish was very tasty, the meat was succulent and juicy and I’m told the chef stuffs truffles under the skin which would explain the interesting and slightly salty flavor it had. I’m not sure it was worth the $50 price tag (thankfully I wasn’t paying this time) but it was certainly enjoyable.

Poulet Roti Entier a la Truffe- Whole truffle-roasted chicken, yukon gold potato confit, shallots, button mushrooms $50

The beef tartare with little toasts was flavorful and easy to eat, it was lightly chilled, had a delicious quail egg on top and was nicely seasoned.

Tartare de Boeuf au Couteau- hand-cut filet mignon, quail egg, capers, crispy shallots, petite herbs salad $19

I am not going to give a food rating this visit as I didn’t eat much just nibbled on a few items on the table (the chicken and tartare), but I feel like there are a lot of other dishes I should try before I give a rating.  I stopped in mainly to see the new bar program and then stayed on for Aidan Demarest’s birthday party which was great fun!  The ice cream sundae they brought out with sparklers was delicious and a great end to the evening.

I will be sure to review the food in coming months, however what I did taste was well cooked, flavorful and nicely seasoned which is a good sign.

Drinks get a good out of 5 coupes.

There was a good selection on the menu, the bartenders seemed knowledgable and the drinks I tried were tasty.  I understand that vodka drinks have to be a prominent feature on cocktail lists in Hollywood, in order to satisfy the lambourgini driving, head to toe Ed Hardy wearing imbeciles that frequent most places at the top of La Cienega. I only wish there had been less of them on this menu and more Gin options.

All in all its a pretty cool place to check out, the staff were really friendly and I found it to be a huge improvement on the pretentious club that was there before.

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Interview with a Bartender: Arash Pakzad

I have mentioned Neat bar a few times in previous posts, for two distinct reasons. One, the owner Aidan Demarest is one of the most interesting, funny and charismatic people you will ever meet. Two, the drinks are always great and the bartenders really know what they’re doing there.

I have plenty to say about this place and it’s innovative concept, so be sure to check back in the next few weeks when I will be putting up a review of the bar itself. For now, here is a little interview with one of their top barmen Arash Pakzad.  (Please note the photo used below is copyright to Raul Villarreal of rAwkfoto.)

Arash Pakzad

Official Job Title: Head Bartender
Born: San Francisco, California
Currently Resides: Los Angeles, California
Current Work locations:
Neat Bar, Glendale CA (Basically all the time)
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*****

 Q & A


What is your ‘go-to’ liquor of choice?
High Proof Rye Whiskey and Islay Scotch, also a good Reposado Tequila
 
What is your favorite “Classic” Drink?
Sazerac
 
Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?
Not too fussy, I’ll try anything as long as I kill it or it’s been killed for me.
 
What is the most unusual dish or food item you’ve ever tasted?
Cow Tongue Stew, Brain tacos, Rocky Mountain Oysters – all great.
 
What is the best thing about what you do?
Everything. Pleasing people around me and pleasing myself.

What is the Worst thing about what you do?
I get people nice and tipsy, then I have to stop serving at 2am!
 
What is the name of your favorite (current) Mixology bar in LA?
Mixology bar? You mean a bar that the bartenders know how to make excellent drinks? Tough choice.  I feel like there are only a select number of people in the World that are true mixologists and the term mixology is overused and under-appreciated.  There are some great places in LA though.
 
Who would you say is your mentor? Who trained you in your area of expertise?
Aidan Demarest, Jon Ojinaga, Laurel Sather, Fred Pakzad, John-Eric Sanchez, Ashley Afferino, Edgar Monsivais, All my fellow bartenders that I have had the opportunity to work beside.
 
Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night?
Neat bar in Glendale!
 
If you could live anywhere in the World where would it be? & Why?
San Francisco, CA. Do you have a couple pages of space for me to use to explain why? I have my friends, it’s my birthplace, all that food and the awesome homeless people to give my leftovers to.
 
 

*****

If you would like to be considered for this new segment send an email to pickydrinker@gmail.com with a little info on who you are and where you work.  If you don’t sound like a crazy person, I will happily send you a questionnaire to fill out.  If you work in Los Angeles I will almost certainly come in to see how good you are!  Please note, I am looking for enthusiastic bartenders with a real passion for ‘Tending Bar”, Mixology or Classic drink making.  Those of you who bartend for extra cash but have no actual interest in the cocktail community need not apply!

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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.

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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

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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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