Tag Archives: campari

I VOTE for… Tasty drinks!

Tomorrow (6th November 2012) is a big day in the USA, it is the day the American people will cast their vote for either Democrat President Obama or Republican Mitt Romney. I certainly know who i’d be voting for but I won’t say it here as it’s pretty irrelevant since I am not a citizen and therefore can’t vote anyway!

I thought i’d put a few election inspired drinks up though…you know how I love a good theme. ūüėÄ

In the BLUE corner…

There are very few ‘blue’ drinks I approve of, and no ‘Classic’ concoctions with a bright blue hue. ¬†I had first planned to put up a drink with blueberries in but realize that using muddle blueberries creates more of a purple color. Sadly the only really blue drinks are ones that use a fake ingredient like ‘blueberry syrup’ or food coloring. ¬†The drink I have chosen is the only drink I really like that has a bright blue color, and Paul Martins American Bistro (PMAB) is the only place i’ve seen a Lemon Drop made this way.

The PMAB Lemon Drop

  • 2oz Vodka (or Gin)
  • 3/4oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4oz Simple Syrup
  • Splash of Blue Curacao

Garnish: Lemon Wheel and Sugar rim

I know it sounds terrible to the real drink¬†connoisseurs¬† but I have to say it’s really tasty! Great if you have a sweet tooth (the sugar rim certainly does it for me!) and the pop of color makes it stand out. If you ever find yourself at a Paul Martins and want a sweet refreshing vodka drink, you should certainly give this one a go.

In the RED Corner…

There are plenty of Red options to choose from, but seeing as the drink name has ‘America’ in the title, this one seems appropriate!

Americano

  • 1oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1oz Campari
  • 40z Soda

Garnish: Orange Peel/Slice

This drink dates back to the 1900s when it was first served in creator¬†Gaspare Campari‘s bar, Caff√® Campari, in 1860. It used to have a different name, (‘Milano-Torino’) but the drink creator supposedly changed it when it proved so popular with the American tourists. ¬†It is actually a very interesting mix of flavors. ¬†Using the beverage bitters (Campari) you get a gorgeous red color and the drink itself is a bitter sweet mix with a taste that makes you want to drink more.

Who will live in the White House?

On a recent trip to Washington DC we met and befriended legendary barman, writer, illustrator and fountain of knowledge;¬†Derek Brown.¬†The drink below was created by Derek (AKA The Presidents Mixologist) and is particularly fitting for my election theme because it has been served AT the White House itself. Derek probably thinks ‘The Presidents Mixologist’ is a bit of a pretentious title, and if you met him you’d know he would never want someone pushing for it but frankly that is what he is! He has been chosen to create drinks for the White House on more than one occasion, has interacted with President Obama personally and is pretty much the ‘King of Cocktails’ in Americas Capital City. To me he is certainly the Master when it comes to mixed drinks and also just an incredibly lovely man.

When thinking of drink recipes suitable for this Election week he was the first person I wanted to ask for input. ¬†He wouldn’t reveal what the President drinks, pointing out that “pouring and telling in DC is a political no-no!” ¬†He was, however, kind enough to give me the recipe for one of the drinks he prepared for the White House holiday parties back in 2009.

Robert Frost Cocktail

  • 3/4 oz. Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Amontillado Sherry
  • 3/4 oz. White Port
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish: Thinly sliced orange and lemon wheel.

Derek told me that ‘The Robert Frost Cocktail’ is based off the ‘Whispers’ or the ‘Frost Cocktail’. He says he also chose the name because Robert Frost is one of America’s top poets and a poet laureate who embraced progress while recognizing what made America great. Frost actually read at the inauguration of John F, Kennedy¬†too. Derek told me; “Frost just seemed like the perfect inspiration to honor America’s new direction.”

This drink is DELICIOUS! I tried it for the first time today and think it’s just beautiful. Perfect for all kinds of drinker. The Port, Sherry and Bourbon make an incredibly delicious mix. It is balanced with both a strength and sweetness to it. If you can get the ingredients together, it’s certainly worth a shot making it at home.

So there you have it, 3 somewhat random drinks to sip on this week as you watch the polls go one way or the other.

!!!!DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY!!!!

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Crafted to perfection

Craft
10100 Constellation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
90067
310.279.4180 
 

Monday date night last week led us to a restaurant just minutes from our house, yet neither my boyfriend (FG) or I had been there before.  The list of drinks and food on offer all looked appealing and appetizing, and the decor of the bar area was inviting and warm when we entered. We decided to sit at the CraftBar which is separate from the restaurant itself and has a different food menu, but we decided to mix and match and got a few bar menu items and then our entree from the regular restaurant menu.

FG informed me that the “Craft” team pay a¬†purveyor¬†a lot of money just to travel the country in search of the best produce for all three of their locations. Only the best, organic, fresh and seasonal products are used so the menu changes constantly with what is and¬†isn’t¬†available.

Front Porch: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Peach, Lemon and Iced Tea $11

I started the night off with the ‘Front porch’ drink after our bartender (Scott) pointed out that peaches were at their best right now. It was wonderful, like a deliciously peachy ice tea with bourbon! It was sweet, strong and fruity.

FG had the ‘Here today… gone amaro’ which was just as tasty as the name was imaginative! ¬†FG best described it as a Manhattan with a subtle sweet bitterness at the end. Rabarbaro Zuca is an amaro made with Rhubarb, which I have only seen on a menu once before, ironically in my boyfriends drink ‘Maguey after Amaro’. I like it when places use unusual ingredients though.

Here Today…Gone Amaro: Old Overholt Rye, Chai Tea infused Carpano Antica Vermouth, Cio Ciaro and Rabarbaro $14

FG was¬†intrigued¬†by the number of Amari they had on the back bar, including the Cio Ciaro (he’d never heard of) which he sampled and described as having a burnt caramel flavor with a slow bitter finish. ¬†Craft also makes a home made velvet falernum which was delicious, sweet and zesty.

Negroni Mio: Aviation Gin, Campari, Americano, Cocchi Vermouth di Tornio, Prosecco & Strawberry. $13

FG’s second drink was the Negroni Mio, this was a good drink, but not great. It sounded amazing on paper (they barrel aged the Negroni then bottle age it with strawberries), but the flavors really came through as simply a Negroni with aperol.

Many of the food options looked interesting but we started with the cheddar hush puppies that came with a smoked maple syrup to dip in. Delicious maple flavor from the sauce altho the puppies had little spicy kick to them. ¬†The cheese didn’t come through for me but still the dish was very tasty.

Cheddar Hushpuppies & Smoked Maple Syrup $6

The risotto balls were also on the spicy side with a marinara type sauce named romesco, the crispy thin layer on the outside of each ball made them not too rich and another good starter dish.

Risotto Fritters & Romesco $6

They also brought a bread basket out with¬†delicious¬†breads in. ¬†The dark loaf was incredibly different and hearty. In fact Scott gave us an extra loaf to take home, as he informed me it is the perfect bread to make french toast with the next day. ¬†I loved the wooden box the bread came in too, the presentation of all the dishes was exquisite and although this was a slightly more expensive place than we’d usually go just for monday date night, it became clear very quickly why they deserved to charge so much.

For our main course we agreed on a steak (like always!) and decided to share the dry aged sirloin. When it arrived I realized just how incredibly large 22 ounces of meat is and worried we’d way over ordered!

We also chose some sides, the sugar snap peas (which i’m really in to recently, so sweet and crunchy) and the yukon puree. ¬†I had wanted a potato but couldn’t decide what kind, Scott had said these were “deliciously decadent.” ¬†Of course, alarm bells should go off when you hear a server/bartender describe something as decadent…it usually means, extremely fatty and high in calories. ¬†We didn’t care though, it was an indulgent night. ¬†

The potato was certainly nothing less than decadent! Creamy, rich and full of flavor. ¬†It was like a very soft buttery mash but still had a lightness to it, I couldn’t eat too much but it paired¬†beautifully¬†with the earthy flavor of the steak. ¬†I’m not sure i’d had dry aged beef before but it gave the meat a much stronger fuller flavor. ¬†The meat came with a bone marrow on the side, which greg emptied out on to a piece of remaining bread.

I think bone marrow is definitely an¬†acquired¬†taste, it reminded me of chicken¬†dripping¬†my mum would keep to put on¬†sandwiches¬†after a roast¬†dinner. Not that it tasted like chicken, it just had a very greasy and fatty texture that reminded me of that. ¬†I didn’t like it at all, Greg devoured the whole bone full.

Roasted dry aged sirloin 22oz $56

Sugar snap peas $11

Yukon Gold Puree $10

To finish we saw the wonderful dessert list but felt too full to get anything (believe it or not, we had at this point eaten the entire steak and sides!!!). Scott brought us some little bites from the pastry chef which included some caramel popcorn and little nectarine upside down cakes.  They were the perfect touch of sweetness to end the evening.

Before we left Scott gave us a little pack of complimentary Craft Granola for the next day. FGs parents went the following week and were given some complimentary Craft muffins, it changes daily what you’ll get but I think it’s such a cute and¬†unique¬†idea to give something like that for breakfast. When we ate the granola the next morning (which was great) it had us¬†remembering¬†our¬†wonderful¬†evening¬†the night previous. Very smart marketing move!

Drinks here get my rating of 4 out of 5 Clover Clubs.

My peach cocktail was fantastic, and FG certainly enjoyed his two drinks also. ¬†Scott was professional and informative behind the bar, and the look of the place was¬†welcoming¬†and attractive. ¬†The only negative of the drinks was the Negroni Mio that wasn’t as flavorful as the ingredients suggested, overall it was a close to excellent bar program. They also had an extensive wine list, for those not as excited by cocktails!

My Food Rating here is 5 out of 5 Platters

Overall this place had it all, relaxing music, a nice chill vibe and excellent professional service. ¬†The food was fantastic, it was different and adventurous without being too overwhelming for a fussy person like myself. ¬†The only negative, which i’m not even sure is fair to give, was the high prices of this place. ¬†I hadn’t expected it to be on the higher end, having said that it really was worth the extra expense. The service really was amazing, and my boyfriends parents decided to go a few days later and had the exact same reaction. For that reason, this is the first place i’m giving 5 out of 5. Watch out Bottega Louie (our most popular location), Craft may soon take over as our favorite place to go for dinner in LA!

All in all, Craft (and Craft Bar) are an excellent night out.  I highly recommend anyone looking for a romantic, quality restaurant in Los Angeles to head there.

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Drink of the Week

Negroni

  • 1oz Gin
  • 1oz Italian Sweet Vermouth
  • 1oz Campari

Garnish: Orange peel

Shake and strain over ice.

Today is my boyfriend FutureGregs (FG) birthday, so it only seemed fitting that I put up one of his all time favorite drinks.  The Negroni cocktail is made of equal parts gin, vermouth (Italian, semi-sweet), and bitters, traditionally Campari. It is considered an apéritif and has a bitter sweet flavor profile.

I admit, this is not a personal favorite of mine, in fact it’s quite the contrary! ¬†This is a very strong and particularly bitter drink, one that I feel you really have to become acustomed to. ¬†FG loves the bitterness of any amaro (after dinner digestif) in a drink, so this is a great option for him. He often chooses to use Cynar (an Italian bitter ap√©ritif liqueur made from herbs, plants and artichoke) instead of the traditional Campari, which I believe makes it taste even more bitter!

The Negroni has, like many cocktails, an often disputed history.  The most common belief is that it was created and named after Count Cammillo Negroni in 1919 when he ordered an Americano with gin at Cafe Casoni in Florence, Italy.  When discussing this with FG he did point out that there are other accounts that suggest this was already another drink, however Count Negroni was the one who made it famous and therefore has his name attached to it.

Whatever it’s origins, this is a good option before or after a meal as the bitters have medicinal qualities that will help settle your stomach.

PARTY PEOPLE

By the way, for those of you who know and love my boyfriend, we will be celebrating tonight (23rd August) at Bagatelle in Hollywood. ¬†The theme is ‘Black and White’, so make sure you come in those colors and dress to impress! ¬†There will be a punch bowl, a Dj, many beautiful women, lots of handsome men and a special priced drinks list for those prepared to celebrate with us. ¬†Come on down at 9pm. We’ll be there til 2am…or until Greg passes out!

Ps. For those of you who don’t know my boyfriend, please note he is actually a very attractive and intelligent man…not the dumbfounded gormless creature I have portrayed him as on this invite. I simply chose this photo because it is so damn funny! Happy Birthday my darling! xxx

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LA Ink (without the tattoos!)


Ink
8360 melrose ave.
los angeles, CA 90069
(323) 651-5866
.

I came here with FutureGreg (FG) last week and sat at the bar on quite possibly the most comfortable bar stools in all of Los Angeles.  Finally a place with cushioned seating at the bar, Hooray!

Brittini Rae (Previously of The Tar Pit and Fig & Olive) was our wonderful bartender and got us started with a couple of interesting drinks. ¬†The menu items for both food and drink don’t technically have names here, so you order by the first ingredient which is highlighted in bold.

Drinks

I had the ‘Gin’ drink and FG had the ‘Campari’ drink. ¬†My drink included an ingredient called ‘Strawberry Shrub’ which Brittini described as a syrup made by steeping strawberries in sherry¬†vinegar¬†and sage. The drink was served in a collins glass with a nice long ‘Ice Spear’, it was a little sweet, a little sour with a bitter finish. ¬†The vinegar made me salivate and came through pretty heavily at the end of each sip, but I personally liked the sensation.

Gin, Strawberry Shrub, Vermouth, Prosecco $13

The Campari drink wasn’t to my tastes but FG enjoyed the bitterness and said the Campari mixed with passionfruit tasted more like grapefruit juice and was¬†delicious. ¬†The aroma on the drink was great but lost slightly in the tall collins glass.

Campari, tequila, passion fruit, absinthe $13

The other bartender Nate was playing with some flavor profiles and cocktail ideas and was nice enough to give us a taste of his latest creation.  It was very good.

Buffalo Trace, Cinnamon Syrup, St Elizabeth All Spice Dram, Lemon Juice and the Strawberry Shrub.  It was a great little drink and the favorite of the three we tried, hopefully they will add it to the menu in due course.

The restaurant itself was attractive and modern, with clean lines and an intriguing curvy shaped ceiling design.  The light fixtures intrigued me and the triangular bar was funky and different.

Chef Michael Voltaggio is the man behind Ink and was the Executive Chef for José Andrés The Bazaar at SLS Hotel (one of my all time favorite restaurants).  The Bazaar is one of the most interesting restaurants, both aesthetically and ingredients wise that I have ever been to.

Voltaggio has clearly brought over some of these elements which were particularly apparant to me in the dessert. ¬†The chocolate dish was reminiscent of one we had at SLS on our last visit. ¬†Voltaggio is most recently famous for his¬†appearance¬†on Season 6 of Top Chef with his brother¬†Chef Bryan Voltaggio. ¬†You can read more about them both by clicking¬†here¬†or read their¬†book¬†‘VOLT/Ink: Recipes, Stories, Brothers’ which is about both the Voltaggio brothers restaurants and includes some wonderful photographs and recipes.

Dinner

To me this restaurant is the epitome of unusual and innovative dishes.  There were many ingredients on the menu that I had either never heard of, or would never have imagined trying.  For example; Cardamom Soil, Fennel pollen, Almond-bonito sand, Oyster Leaf, Lamb Neck Gravy and Octopus Ink Shells!

The main thing I’ve learnt from writing this blog is the ability to take a step back and try items that scare me. ¬†I admit, I didn’t go so far as to order the ‘Pig Ears’, but I am learning to trust the Chefs and bartenders/mixologists in what they choose to include on their menus. ¬†So far I have been truly amazed how many new dishes and drinks i’ve enjoyed.

We ordered two entrees, the Pork belly and the Wagyu beef. ¬†My pork was cooked beautifully and was covered with crackling (which is technically crispy fat and doesn’t sound appealing, but was very flavorful and perfectly crunchy). ¬†The dish came with baby leek and one long pasta tube described as ‘Mac and Cheese’, my only complaint is the portion size of the Mac and Cheese. I could have done with at least three of those cheesy tunnels. They were so delicious.

The richness of the pork belly and the cheesy pasta definitely competed with each other as strong flavors, but ultimately the crackling and drops of ‘charcoal oil’ (which added a smoky element to the dish) won. ¬†Overall it was very very good and I highly recommend it.

Pork Belly, Charcoal Oil, BBQ Flavor, Macaroni and Cheese $22

FG really enjoyed his Wagyu beef dish and described the Tendon as being “similar to a slim jim but less salty”. ¬†He said the beef was succulent but the sauce tasted a little too meaty like ‘Salisbury steak meat’ which wasn’t what he expected and didn’t do the beef justice. The crispy rice cakes and the¬†Horseradish¬†tofu were interesting though and complimented the meat nicely. ¬† Overall he enjoyed the dish and finished it quickly.

Wagyu Beef, Carrots, Tendon, Horseradish tofu $24

Pastry

The Chocolate reminded me of a dish at ‘Bazaar’. ¬†Rich chocolate in shavings, crisps and logs of decadent truffle were on the plate. There were cookie crumbles, sesame cake crisps (amazing) and dense pudding pieces, also a spiced tofu which was really strange but helped balance out all the flavors. ¬†It was a very rich plateful and I¬†couldn’t¬†have eaten it without help.

    

Chocolate, Ice Cream, Spiced tofu, Sesame Cake $10

Apple, Caramel, Burnt Wood ice cream $10

Brittini forced us (nicely) to try the Apple dessert, and i’m so glad she did. ¬†It was exquisite. ¬†The texture was creamy, and had almost like a caramel pot de creme texture. ¬†There were little apple balls and a meringue like ‘Burnt wood ice cream’ on top. ¬†Very interesting and tasty dish.

I am giving Ink:

 4 out of 5 platters

Overall I felt the dishes were executed nicely, presented beautifully and tasted great.  I noticed that every dish we tried utilized different textures as well which I found interesting. There were crunchy, soft, chewy and creamy elements on each plate which made for a real sensory experience.   The menu was certainly diverse, but I feel it may be a little too unusual for some (fussy ones in particular!).

Drinks get 3.5 out of 5 coupes

The drink choices were not as diverse as the food options but I liked the one I had. ¬†The Strawberry shrub was certainly something new, and although I enjoyed my Gin drink I didn’t actually finish it (which is rare for me) because the vinegar flavor became a little too overpowering by the end. ¬†FG enjoyed his, although anything with absinthe isn’t my favorite. ¬†The drink Nate made as a test was excellent, but seeing as it’s not on the menu yet I can’t really include it when factoring the rating, I would give 4 out of 5 if it was.

The restaurant was attractive, the vibe was modern and there were plenty of other great looking drinks and food options on the menu that I didn’t get to try. I will be sure to return in the near future.

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A not so bitter talk with Louis Anderman

Name: Louis Anderman

Company: Miracle Mile Bitters Co.

Location: Los Angeles, California

“Making the World a better place, 2-3 dashes at a time”


This week-end I finally got to sit down with the lovely¬†Louis Anderman, the man behind the¬†Miracle Mile Bitters Co. ¬†When I say ‘the man behind the brand’ I am being quite literal when I talk about Louis. ¬†Miracle Mile Bitters aren’t¬†mass produced at all, ¬†they are hand-crafted cocktail bitters made here in Los Angeles (Miracle Mile) by¬†Louis ALONE in his rented studio space.

He is a one man show and therefore produces small batches for local businesses, friends, family and fellow enthusiasts. ¬†As his success has risen in the last year he has had to turn down a few distributing companies already, purely because he is realistic about what he can produce as one person. ¬†He cannot create 400 bottles a week, like the larger competitors (Fee Brothers,¬†Scrappy’s¬†etc). He can however, and does, take a little under a month to create a couple of¬†liters¬†of truly exceptional product.¬†He single handedly proves the point of quality over quantity.

These bitters taste real, they don’t taste like false flavorings. Unlike ‘Fee Brothers’ he never uses glycerine in his product, only organic¬†neutral¬†grain spirit (except in the case of his Toasted Pecan Bitters, where he uses 50/50 the neutral grain and Bourbon). ¬†Demand is greater than production allows right now, and he told me that merely mentioning a flavor concept on his¬†Facebook/website has him¬†receiving¬†countless requests for bottles of a product not yet created!

He is a genuinely nice man to chat with and when speaking about what he’s doing now, (a far cry from the world of Miramax he originated in) you really get a sense of his passion for the products he creates. ¬†He¬†has no formal culinary training, but his keen sense of smell, taste and adventure for playing with new flavors is what sent him on his current path.

He started with the Chocolate/Chili bitters early on which ended up being so successful amongst his friends that Joe Keeper (owner of¬†Barkeeper¬†in Silverlake) said¬†“You really should start selling these at my store”. Soon enough his¬†product was doing so well that he said to himself it’s time to¬†“Go Pro or Go HomeLucky for us, he chose the professional route and Miracle Mile Bitters Co. began it’s journey in to the cocktail community.

A Brief bit about Bitters. (Say that ten times fast!)

Ok, so the bitter truth (pun intended) is that until a few days ago I didn’t even know what they really were. When someone mentioned ‘Bitters’ in a drink, I would usually assume, having such a sweet tooth, i’m not going to like it and therefore not going to order it. ¬†I would have been able to name maybe four flavors I knew of: ¬†Peychauds,¬†Angostura, Chocolate and Orange and although I was aware there were more flavors out there, I had no real desire to discover them. To be honest I had no understanding as to why anyone would even want them in a drink! ¬†The only time i’d tasted them in the past had been when I had an upset tummy and my boyfriend FG would give me bitters in soda which was, quite frankly, disgusting! This always stuck with me and when FG would order a digestiv ¬†of ‘beverage bitters’ like Campari or Cynar, I could never understand it’s appeal. It was like taking medicine.

Technically, that’s exactly what he was doing. Bitters originated as medicines and were¬†used to cure a variety of ailments from headaches to constipation to indigestion. ¬†The recipes for some of theses¬†elixirs¬†date back centuries and were used to help fix a variety of sickness issues. ¬†I could not wrap my head around why bartenders had such a desire to add them to drinks, that is until I tried some of Miracle Miles Bitters co. selection at the Valentines Day Prom at Big Bar and realized how certain bitters can be a background note that enhance a set of new flavors in a drink.

As soon as I tried them and heard about this ‘Cult member of the cocktail community’ (Louis Anderman) I knew I wanted to meet him, but before I did I decided to do a little research.Amongst other books, I found myself reading ‘A SPIRITED HISTORY of a CLASSIC CURE-ALL- BITTERS’ by Brad Thomas Parsons the most. ¬†It is not a hugely complex book, but was perfect to help me understand their origins and uses. So for all of you, like myself, with little/no knowledge of Bitters here’s a few little things to tell you…in¬†layman’s¬†terms!

What exactly are bitters?

Bitters have been described as “Liquid seasoning for drinks and food”, they are to the bartender what salt and pepper is to the Chef. ¬†FG often has a Negroni or bitter tasting¬†aperitif¬†to help prepare his taste buds for dinner, they cleanse the palette and help enhance flavors in the food you eat, and in the cocktail itself.

“Bitters are an aromatic flavoring agent made from infusing roots, barks, fruit peels, seeds, spices, herbs, flowers and botanicals in high proof alcohol.”¬†Page 9 of Parsons Book.

They are used in the creation of cocktails. Incidentally I should mention that the term “cocktail” should technically always have bitters in it.

Our generation throws the word around with little regard for accuracy. There are thousands of “Cocktail Lists” in this city with not one ‘real’ cocktail on it. ¬† A cocktail (by tradition) is a drink consisting of sugar, alcohol, water and bitters.¬†Thats it! None of these ‘Martinis or Cosmos’ are cocktails at all.¬†We use the term incorrectly and it drives the true drink enthusiasts crazy.

I admit I have no issue with the mis use of the term personally, I actually believe it’s ok for the meaning of words to change and adapt over time, but if you are one of those people who believe in accuracy of names and traditions then check out Andrew “The Alchemist” Willet website by clicking¬†HERE.¬†He is a walking ‘drink encyclopedia’ and runs classes and tasting sessions which will blow your mind. (He also just did an article on the ‘Bitters’ book I mentioned, he wasn’t as in favor of it as I am, but have a look at what he said too.)

Bitters are also, as I mentioned before, a form of Medicine. ¬†Louis told me that some of his first recipes and attempts at bitters came from old 19th Century¬†pharmaceutical¬†books he found on the¬†internet¬†“God bless Google Books” he said, when discussing how access to some of these old recipes really helped him create his own, like his very popular Castilian Bitters.

The Forbidden Bitters (Batch # 001) were some of the best he’s ever created, and not that¬†dissimilar¬†from the, now deceased,¬†Abbott’s¬†19th Century aromatic bitters. ¬†However, in the same way that the¬†Abbott’s¬†are no longer available you also can’t get your hands on this first batch of Forbidden either. ¬†For the same reason too, they are both now ‘Forbidden’ as the recipe called for Tonka Beans (have bitter almond,¬†cacao¬†and vanilla notes) which are not FDA approved. ¬†This is nothing more than a poorly written law and the¬†minuscule¬†amounts used could never cause you harm, but nevertheless, Louis’ current Forbidden Bitters for sale do not include the aromatic Tonka beans at all. They are still excellent however, and I strongly urge you to buy a bottle.

Always one to try new things, he tells me recently he’s been experimenting with Candicap mushrooms, which have a sweet maple syrup aroma. ¬†I asked why¬†no one¬†has thought to use these in bitters before and he replied “They are expensive and the supply chain is irregular” but that’s the beauty of a small operation company, he can play with flavors with a lot less regard for mass production later on down the line.

The majority of his experimentation isn’t for retail either, but limited to ‘on premise’ clients. An example of this would be the savory “Damn you Matt Wallace” bitters he created for¬†Harvard & Stone¬†in Hollywood. ¬†The name intrigues many who hear it, and I was curious as to it’s back story.

Louis told me;

Matt Wallace (Head Bartender at H&S) suggested I try to create a savory bitters. After I started with a tomato base, ¬†I added (amongst other things) some angelic root, pepper, celery and a little citrus for brightness then my savory bitters were born. ¬†They have spice with not too much heat. The idea and the final product ended up being so good I had to say “Damn you Matt Wallace” so that’s what I put on the¬†label¬†of the first bottle.”

The name stuck! ‘Damn you Matt Wallace bitters’ are still on the drink menu at Harvard and Stone¬†exclusively¬†so be sure to check them out there too.

The new ‘Valentines Bitters’ with notes of Strawberry and Rose that were created for Big Bar’s Prom last week, are outstanding. So delicate and floral, they are delightful and having been able to snag a little bottle for my own use I have already been bothered by ‘bartender friends’ who want me to bug Louis about creating more. “Can you see if he’ll make us like 6 bottles?” Seriously,¬†I can only imagine how many calls Louis must get like this after people try his new creations.

The man is gifted and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. Miracle Mile Bitters Co. is such a great little company and deserves all the recognition it can get.¬†In my opinion it’s always better to look after the “little guy” and stay away from “big commercial” companies when possible and unlike other bitters production companies in America, Miracle Mile Bitters Co.¬†does¬†have that small batch appeal.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some other fantastic bitters companies out there ‘The Bitter Truth’ is a great example of one. ¬†There are also small batch bitters operations popping up all over the place like ‘Bittermens’ bitters created by Avery Glasser¬†in New York.

Louis isn’t here to step on anyones toes though, when I asked if he started his company because he thought other companies were lacking an element he replied;

¬†“Not at all. I honestly felt there was room for me too. There is always room for new flavor ideas, for example,¬†no one¬†was making a¬†Castilian¬†or Yuzu bitters at the time”

and for the flavors already out there, like Orange or Chocolate, he says he’s not trying to take over;

“As long as the quality is there, I believe theres room for everyone. I target a smaller audience anyway and often have people who just want to collect the whole set because I make so few bottle in a batch compared to the big brands”

His work ethic and passion for what he does comes across when he talks and his choice of flavors has inspired bartenders across LA and the country to create new and exciting drinks with his products. ¬†He sparks imagination in people and his ‘Venue specific bitters’ are a smart way to help Mixology bars around LA get on the map, if they weren’t already. ¬†The cocktail community in LA is so welcoming and helpful for promoting each other, he has been quite overwhelmed by how much support has come for his little brand. ¬†Having tasted his products and met Louis now in person, I honestly believe his product won’t stay “boutique” for long. ¬†I’m pretty sure Miracle Mile Bitters Co. is about to become a big name brand and will one day be available and sold all over the World. ¬†It deserves every success.

If you have an interest in buying any of his current ‘retail’ creations please check out his¬†website, or purchase direct from any of the following locations:

The current bitters he creates in a larger capacity for retail are: Chocolate/Chili Bitters, Gingerbread Bitters, Sour Cherry Bitters, Castilian Bitters, Yuzu Bitters, Forbidden Bitters, Orange Bitters.

I am going to end with a copy of the questionnaire I give all the people I interview. I find this is a fun informal way to learn more about a person and I love to see the different answers .
Here are Louis answers…Enjoy!
*
1. What is your full name?
Louis Z Anderman
2. What city/state were you born in?
Los Angeles, CA
3. What is your official job title? 
Barpothecary.  OK, so I made up that word, but it appears that someone beat me to Bitterati.
4. Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?
Absolutely not. ¬†And, I should add, I see no food hierarchy. ¬†I think that a $1 taco truck taco can be as noble as anything served at any of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, and many of my most memorable meals have been in parking lots, or strip mall dives with a health dept. B in the window.
¬†5. What is your favorite “Classic” Drink?
Can’t pick one. ¬†Best I can do is my top 5, in no particular order: ¬†Martini, Manhattan, Sazerac, Last Word, Old Fashioned.
6. What is your ‘go-to’ liquor of choice?¬†
Gin.  Beefeater is usually my house staple, though there are many others I love, depending upon mood and/or finances.
7.¬†What is the most unusual dish or food item you’ve ever tasted?
I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but perhaps shark fin soup with crab roe, in Hong Kong.
8. What is the name of your favorite (current) Mixology bar in LA? and Why?
Can’t do it. ¬†Can’t pick a favorite.
9. Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night?
For the most part, I’m a boring homebody.
10. What is the best thing about what you do?  
Many things. ¬†For one,¬†truly¬†loving what I do. ¬†For the first time in my life, I actually find myself excited about going to work. ¬†The creative satisfaction I get from developing new flavors, and the further satisfaction at a positive reception, and then seeing bartenders creating new drinks with them that I never would have imagined. ¬†All of the lovely, incredibly creative and passionate people I’ve met. ¬†Oh, and the comped drinks don’t hurt, either.
11. What is the Worst thing about what you do?
Dealing with supply shortages (I went through about a two month dry spell on Yuzu peel, until I found a new, more reliable supplier), and the stress of building a new business from the ground up, learning as I go along (and hoping I don’t screw anything up too much!).
12. If you could live anywhere in the World where would it be? and why?
I’m gonna cheat and imagine that I had access to a time machine, and say LA in the 1930’s. ¬†I’m obsessed with looking at pictures of old LA, and I can’t imagine how beautiful this city must have been pre-traffic, with lots of gorgeous Art Deco architecture.
13. If you couldn’t do what you do now, what would you do instead?
Cry. 
14. If you won the $100,000,000 on the lottery what would be the first thing you’d buy?
A fully restored (and with the notoriously dodgy electrics upgraded) series 1.5 Jaguar XKE roadster – silver, with red or black interior – or the Plymouth Gin distillery, just so I’d have ready access to the Navy Strength which, sadly, isn’t imported to the US.
 
Thanks for reading!
(If you would like to be considered for interview or represent a bar/brand you want to bring exposure to on my site, please feel free to contact me direct: pickydrinker@gmail.com)

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