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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.

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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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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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Drink of the Week

The Ponchartrain

  • 1 1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz 10 yr Tawny Port
  • 1/2 oz Real Grenadine (see below)
  • Bar spoon of lemon juice (2.5ml)
  • 2 dashes Peychauds Bitters

Stir ingredients for 2 minutes in ice, then strain into a coupe glass that has been pre rinsed in Absinthe.

Garnish: Lemon peel

This is a cocktail I tried on Sunday at the event Art Beyond the Glass (review coming soon), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was created by Giovanni Martinez in 2009 at The Buffalo Club, Santa Monica and is named after Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans.

This drink is full of interesting flavors, has a lovely sweetness and the port and bourbon work beautifully together. (The above recipe also works well with Rye Whisky.)

You can currently have it made for you at Sadie in Hollywood, however if you’re feeling adventurous or don’t live near Hollywood, have a go making it yourself!

If you’re going to make the above recipe at home, you can (and should), make the grenadine also.  It is fairly easy, and is well worth the extra effort.  All you need is good pomegranate juice, sugar and orange blossom water.  Making your own will be a vast improvement on any options you can currently buy in the stores, and you will notice when it’s done that it doesn’t have a ghastly bright red color or taste like cherries, like the famous Rose’s version. If you click HERE it will direct you to a pretty easy recipe for home made grenadine.  Give it a go, it is well worth the extra steps.

I really enjoy this drink and will certainly be ordering it again when next at Sadie.

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Interview with a Bartender: Giovanni Martinez

Today my Bartender of choice is former Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador (2007), Bar Consultant and Spirits Director Giovanni Martinez.  Consultant for both the New York and Los Angeles Fig & Olive Restaurants, as well as Buffalo Club in Santa Monica, he can now be found working on drinks at Sadie in Hollywood.

I have known Gio personally for a couple of years now, due to his close friendship with his work colleague, my boyfriend, Greg Bryson (AKA FutureGreg.)   He is extremely passionate about alcohol and creating drinks, he’s entertaining, friendly and always the life of the party!

Giovanni Martinez

AKA: Gio
Official Job Title: Spirits Director
Born: Los Angeles, California
Currently Resides: Los Angeles, California
Current Work locations: Sadie, Hollywood


.
*****

Q & A

What is the best thing about what you do? 
Opening the door for people and watching them step into a new World of drinking which they never expected to be in but now enjoy being a part of.
 
What is the Worst thing about what you do?
Cleaning out clogged floor sinks
 
Who would you say is your mentor? Who do you feel trained you in your area of expertise?
Max Warner and Colin Appiah probably influenced me the most in regards to dealing with having a commitment to  excellence whilst keeping the customer the number one priority.
 
What is the name of your favorite (current) Mixology bar in LA?
I have a great time at Harvard and Stone.
 
Are you a fussy eater or picky drinker? If so, what WON’T you try?
Not much. I won’t eat Domestic animals or Animals of high intelligence (except the occasional pork, they’re just so tasty).
 
What is the most unusual dish or food item you’ve ever tasted?
Unusual is so relative….Crickets.
  
What is your ‘go-to’ liquor of choice?
Umm….. In a Punch or Sour- Gin, in a Cocktail- Rye, Neat- Scotch or Tequila.
  
What is your favorite “Classic” Drink?
I really like Martinez’s and Last Word’s.
  
If you couldn’t do what you do now, what would you do instead?
Teach history.
  
If you could live anywhere in the World where would it be? and Why?
London or Bora Bora.  London because I’ve always had a stupendous time there, and Bora Bora cause, well, duh. But I couldn’t live anywhere but Los Angeles for very long, after all this is, to quote Steve Martin falsely quoting Shakespeare:
 
“This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
The envy of less happier lands, 
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Los Angeles”
 

*****

If you would like to be considered for this segment of my site please 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 think ‘Sweet and Sour Mix’ is a great product, bartend only for the joy of extra cash and have no interest in the cocktail community itself, need not apply!

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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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Drink of the Week

Kentucky Ninja

  • 1/2oz Japanese Single Malt Whisky
  • 1 1/2oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 3/4oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Lavender-infused wild honey

Garnish: Lavender Sprig

Shaken & served in a glass rinsed with Peychaud’s Bitters.

I discovered this drink at Sadie and wrote about it in my review (here).  Having been back to this great bar in the past few weeks, I got to enjoy it a couple more times and decided it was good enough to be ‘Drink of the Week’.

I personally find it really easy to drink because it is refreshing, floral, definitely strong but balanced and slightly sweet.  If you have the elements available to you at home I suggest you have a go making it. If you find yourself in the Hollywood area be sure to stop by Sadie and taste the original. The recipe above was created by Giovanni Martinez in collaboration with FutureGreg and the Sadie Bar Team.

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Sadie (Bar Review)

Sadie

1638 North Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028 

323.467.0200 

This new place just opened in the last few weeks in the space where the infamous nightclub Les Deux used to be. It is no longer part of the club

scene and the area seems to have been cleaned up drastically. The owners spent thousands of $$$ ripping out the court yard and remodeling the inside. The end result looks wonderful. I really appreciated the brass top square bar, which is so unique in this town that seems to open bars constantly with marble counter tops. The brushed orange/brown metal makes it feel more rustic and old. I am sure as the bar is continuously used and dirtied it will add even more character to it.  I am told their inspiration/concept was “Steam Punk, think ‘Jules Vern’. When looking around the room at the mix of metals, old saloon style attire on the bartenders and bizarre black and white (creepy) photos on the wall, in my opinion the place reminded me more like the movie ‘Cowboys & Aliens’!! The most attractive feature that stood out to me, besides the brass bar, was the gorgeous wood panelling on the ceiling. The ‘orange/brassy’ color palette of the place make for a warm and inviting bar and restaurant, there are black and white framed images on the walls that change as you walk past them…cute idea, but honestly just creeps me out! Big thumbs up for doing something different though!

The cocktail list was pretty impressive. All bespoke syrups and fresh ingredients. I will be doing a repeat review at a later date for the restaurant side of Sadie, I was there for the opening party and sampled drinks only on this visit.  The drinks I did try were fantastic. Giovanni Martinez was in charge of the drink program here (he did the drink programs for ‘Fig & Olive’, Hollywood and ‘Buffalo Club’ Santa Monica) with the help of his extremely talented bar staff, which include Greg Bryson, Head Barman at ‘Bar Chloe’, Daniel Parino from ‘Fathers Office’ and Jade Warner from ‘Next Door Lounge’.

I tried the ‘Kentucky Ninja’ first which I enjoyed so much I had it again before leaving, it was well balanced and an interesting mix of flavors. Bourbon was the base, which is certainly not my ‘go to’ liquor of choice but worked beautifully against the lavender-infused wild honey (which the bartenders infuse in house).

Kentucky Ninja – Japanese Single Malt Whisky \ Bourbon Whiskey \ fresh lemon juice \ lavender-infused wild honey. Shaken & served in a Peychaud’s Bitters rinsed glass.

The next drink I sampled was a ‘La china’. My friend liked this, however it wasn’t my favorite. I really wanted to like it, even though, to be perfectly honest I don’t enjoy the flavor of Tequila. I liked the idea of it. Lychee black tea infused tequila blanco sounded wonderful, but when I tasted it the tequila over powered any attempt to taste the tea or lychee elements and therefore I didn’t like it too much. It was balanced and everyone else around me enjoyed it. If you like Tequila a lot, you are bound to enjoy it!

La China – lychee black tea-infused Avion Silver Tequila \ fresh lime juice \ organic agave syrup \ Velvet Falernum \ shaken & served up

After these new drinks I decided on a classic Bramble. This has a summery and refreshing taste to me and Sadie’s version uses muddled

fresh blackberries as well as the blackberry liquor.  The bramble is essentially a short gin sour with crème de mûre, on top. It was not invented at Sadie of course, it was created in 1984 by Dick Bradsell, at ‘Fred’s Club’ in London’s SoHo — although it is remarkeably similar to Jerry Thomas’ Gin Fix from his 1862 cocktail guide. Method is the same, prepared over shaved ice and fruit of the season on top. The only real difference is the fact ‘Blackberrys’ aren’t specified and no Creme de Mure. Anyway, it is a refreshing drink nonetheless and was made well here.

Bramble – Old Tom Gin \ fresh lemon juice \ crème de mure \ fresh blackberries (Dick Bradsell, 1980’s)

I didn’t get to sample but was intrigued by the Gran Prix mix of gin and beer! I am not a huge beer drinker (even though i’m from the UK) and even less so of Pale Ales…far too hoppy for me. However, I would be interested to hear how this tasted if anyone tried it. Message me if you enjoyed it and what worked/didn’t work with it. Here is the drink profile for those interested…

Gran Prix – Chrysanthemum-infused Beefeater Gin \ honey syrup \ fresh lemon juice \ shaken & finished with Racer 5 IPA.

All in all my experience at Sadie was excellent. The bar staff seemed extremely competent and every drink, by each individual bartender (I made a point of having drinks made by different people this night) came out balanced, beautifully presented and well made.

It gets my rate of  4.5 out of 5 Clover Clubs.

Service was fast and efficient, bartenders were knowledgable and new decor was interesting and attractive. It really is an excellent staff and bar program, and hats off to them for opening in the heart of “Head to toe Ed Hardy, Grey goose martini drinking ‘Les douche’ area”  They bring a clear level of sophistication to the area and hopefully will inspire that sort of client to try something new. I did and I loved it.  The half point missing from excellence was due to the odd music choice of the night, the tequila drink I didn’t care for  and the ‘les douche’ style people that attended that evenings event. I am almost certain the DJ and customers for opening night were not the usual, so this is likely to increase to a full 5 experience on second inspection. I will definitely be back.

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