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The Fussy Bride

Yeah yeah, I know….I haven’t written in a really long time!

Life may have been getting in the way of my blogging, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been out and about eating and drinking to my hearts content. Trust me, I definitely have!  There will be posts coming shortly on these places, but bare with me in the next few months.

For those fussy readers who don’t know me personally, I should let you know that I recently got engaged (YAY!) to my Beverage Director fiance who is usually mentioned on here as FutureGreg.

Wedding planning is extremely time consuming, but I am having the most incredible fun with it all.  To keep my readers in the loop, I thought it would be nice to put up the two Punch recipes that we provided at our recent Engagement party.  They were such a success, we intend on having them again at the wedding itself. Greg came up with both recipes, although I take credit for their wonderful names. 🙂

Image from stylemewhimsy.com

Image from stylemewhimsy.com

The Drunken Bride

  • 750ml No.3 Gin
  • 300ml fresh lemon juice
  • 300ml simple syrup
  • 100ml strawberry juice
  • 100ml cucumber juice
  • 200ml soda water

Serve in a Punch bowl over large ice cube.

Serves approx 14. Double ingredients (like we did) to serve more, obviously!

This punch was a HUGE success at the party. It’s refreshing, fruity and delightful as a summer drink. Greg made this on the sweeter side for me, and was designed with the girls in mind. Beautifully balanced and reminded me of a Strawberry lemonade. Easy to drink and even easier to get tipsy on!

Oaxocan Down the Aisle

  • 750ml Yorkshire Tea infused Mezcal Ilegal    (20 minute cold brew with 4 tea bags)
  • 300ml lemon juice
  • 300ml runny honey (2parts colver honey: 1 part filtered water)

Served over large ice cube. Serves 14

For those who don’t understand the humor in this name, Oaxacan is pronounced (wa-ha-ken) and is the name of the people from Oaxaca, Mexico.  It was created to pair my ‘British side’ (the English Tea infusion) with Greg’s Mexican side (Mezcal). 

Yorkshire Tea Bags +ilegal_mezcal_joven

This Punch was deliciously smoky with an interesting twist from the yorkshire tea, that I felt gave an almost creamy element to the drink and softened the Mezcal. I originally didn’t think the flavor pairings would work when FutureGreg suggested it, but it came out perfectly. Really delicious and original flavors.

Anyway, that’s all for now! Here is a photo of us at our Engagement party with delicious Sprinkles cupcakes.

Sprinkles

Enjoy!

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Drink of the Week

The Fussy One Cocktail

The Fussy One

  • 2oz Rum Blanco
  • 3/4oz Lime Juice
  • 3/4oz Vanilla syrup
  • 3/4oz Fresh Beet juice

Garnish: Lime wheel

Next week sees some big achievements for me. On Monday 28th January I will have been living in the States for 5 years…then on 30th January I will be celebrating my 1st ‘Bloggerversary’.  Yep, this little blog will be one year old on Wednesday!

The above drink recipe was created lovingly by my Beverage consultant boyfriend Greg Bryson, as a nod to me…and my fussiness! This drink is nothing short of delicious, and perfectly fits my personality.  The use of beet juice gives it an almost healthy taste and vegetive flavors, for some reason the beet reminds me of carrots at times too.  When Greg first met me (read about me) I would never have eaten a vegetable by choice, so incorporating it in a drink with my namesake is pretty smart and somewhat amusing.

This drink has everything I love combined. It has Rum as the base (my favorite), it’s Sweet, Strong, Pink, Fruity and Girly. (Add a dash of crazy and it would be describing my personality!)

In essence this drink could be described as a Vanilla Beet Daiquiri, but I prefer to call it by it’s new name… “The Fussy One” 🙂

Head on down to Greg’s new Venice location of Hostaria Del Piccolo on Wednesday for a drink to celebrate. Greg will be making this recipe as well as loads of his other creations, it’s going to be a fun night.

A big thanks to all my readers, keep following and commenting. I love your suggestions and feedback!

Here’s to many more years of eating, drinking and blogging…

The Fussy One xx

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It’s SCARY!!!…how good these taste!

The pumpkin is carved, costume created and candy is placed in bowls ready for eager children’s hands…Yep, Halloween is upon us!

The time has come for me to put up some of my favorite ‘Halloween’ inspired mixed drinks, to get you in the mood…

Scary Classics

Corpse Reviver #2

  • 1oz Gin
  • 1oz Cocchi Americano
  • 3/4oz Cointreau
  • 3/4oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 Bar-spoon (1/2tsp) of Absinthe

Garnish: Maraschino Cherry

My first thought when I heard of this drink was ‘What about the Corpse reviver number one?!’ Apparently there are several drinks with the ‘Corpse Reviver’ name, but almost anyone who has tasted more than one would argue that this is the most palatable and balanced version.

The first publication of this drink can be seen in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book’, 1930.  It is a drink that could supposedly raise any dead drinker on the morning after and was designed as a hangover cure (hence the name).

The original recipe calls for Quina Lillet, which is no longer in production. Many bartenders make the error of using Lillet Blanc in it’s place, but this is not the same at all. Cocchi Americano is the most authentic to flavor as the original would have been, which is why I have added it to the above recipe.

Blood and Sand

  • 1oz scotch
  • 3/4oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 3.4oz Blood Orange Juice
  • 3/4oz Cherry Heering

Garnish: Orange peel

I just learnt today that whenever ‘Sand or Sandy’ is used in a drink name before prohibition, it almost always refers to the use of scotch in the drink.

This drink is a little sweeter than the others (probably why I like it!) but very tasty and beautifully balanced with a rich orange flavor. It’s rare to find a cocktail with Scotch that works with lots of other flavors, but this one does.

The origins of this drink date back to 1922 when it was named after a bullfighter movie ‘Blood and Sand’ by Rudolph Valentino.   The red juice of the blood orange in the drink helped to link it with the film. This recipe also first appears in print in The Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930.

Satan’s Whiskers

  • 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2oz Grand Marnier
  • Dash orange bitters

Shake and strain in to a Cocktail glass.

There are two versions of this classic cocktail, one calling for Grand Marnier, the other using Orange Curaçao. The above recipe is considered the “straight” version, while the other is known as “curled”.  No idea as to the origins of this drinks name but it has an interesting mix of flavors. The orange is prominent but there is a bitterness to it and almost a peppery flavor from the gin, especially if you use something like Bombay Sapphire as the base.

I prefer the ‘straight’ version of this drink because it is slightly sweeter using Grand Marnier, but both versions are nicely balanced.  This is yet another cocktail taken from The Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930 by the way. I can’t get enough of Harry Craddock this Halloween!

Pumpkin Drinks

Zucca

  • 2oz Pisco
  • 1tsp Shredded Coconut
  • 1/4oz  Juiced Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Pumpkin Butter (Trader Joes)

Shake and strain in to a tall glass with ice.

  • Top with 1 oz Weinstephaner (Wheat Beer)

Garnish: Orange peel dusted with cinnamon

‘ Zucca’ is the Italian word for Pumpkin and is another of Greg Bryson’s drinks from his 2o12 Fall menu at Hostaria Del Piccolo, Santa Monica. I honestly thought the use of so many strong flavors like coconut, ginger, cinnamon, pumpkin and beer would taste really off balance and kind of messy. The end result is the complete opposite though! The flavors work well together and compliment each other beautifully.  Unlike most pumpkin drinks i’ve had; this one isn’t overly creamy and rich, instead it is refreshing, slightly sweet and surprisingly balanced.

The recipe is understandably a little difficult to recreate at home,so if you find yourself in Santa Monica this Autumn definitely pop in to Hostaria to try this tasty option.

 Great Pumpkin

  • 2 oz Pumpkin ale
  • 1 oz Rittenhouse Bonded rye
  • 1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
  • 1/2 Grade B Maple Syrup
  • 1 whole egg

Garnish: Grated Nutmeg

This creamy, pumpkin cocktail was created by Jim Meehan of PDT for his Fall menu in 2008.  It captures rich Autumnal flavors perfectly by using apple brandy, maple syrup and pumpkin ale. According to the ‘PDT Cocktail Book’, 2011 they named it ‘Great Pumpkin’ as a reference to Charles Schultz‘s masterpiece ‘It’s the Great pumpkin, Charlie Brown’, 1966.

Meehan suggests Southampton pumpkin ale, but honestly any good brand will work.  Using a whole egg makes this drink a ‘Flip’, and although a lot of people are put off by the thought of an egg in their drink, I have to say it’s honestly not so much a taste factor as it is mouth feel. When shaken well the egg creates a deliciously creamy foam, and that fluffy topping is the best part of the drink in my opinion! It basically tastes like a pumpkin egg nog.  The nutmeg gives a great nose too, this is just a perfect drink for fall.

If you want to try it somewhere special this recipe is currently available on the drinks list at The Penthouse @ Mastros in Beverly Hills.

Anyway, that’s all I have for you… Go carve your pumpkins and get in the mood for October 31st!

  

!!!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!!!

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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 apéritif 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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Drink of the Week

French 75

  • 1 1/2oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • Fill with Champagne

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Today I found myself celebrating Bastille Day at Bagatelle in Hollywood.  Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to ‘French National Day’ which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year.

In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commemorates the storming of Bastille Fortress-prison on 14 July 1789.  The act of storming Bastille was seen as the uprising of the modern nation during the French Revolution and has been celebrated every year in France on the Anniversary of the event, since 1790.

They had created quite a party at Bagatelle.  Girls were dancing on table tops, French flags where flying everywhere and champagne was flowing heavily!

Zach gets in to character!

Zach Patterson (Head barman) had made an interesting version of the French 75 for the party and used ‘Lavender honey’ instead of simple syrup, which added an interesting floral note to the drink.

Both recipes (Zachs and the original above) are very similar in taste.  They’re both refreshing, bubbly, sweet and slightly citric drinks. Great options for Summer and a nice alternative to plain champagne for celebrations.

If you feel like getting in on some French action yourself this evening, have a go making the above recipe at home or head in to Bar Chloe in Santa Monica where they’ll be making them all night (for those who know to ask!)

Oui, Oui… ont une bonne soirée!

 (Yes, Yes… Have a good evening!)

Happy Bastille Day!

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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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Drinks fit for a Queen!

umm…No. Not that Queen.

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: spiritedentertaining.com

Diamond Fizz

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

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

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

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

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

The Coronation Cocktail

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Telegraph

Jubilee Punch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Beefeater Gin

Beefeater Garden Party Punch

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

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

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

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

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Big Bar Prom = Big Success!

Event: “Midnight in Paris” Prom 2012

Big Bar and Alcove Cafe  

1929 Hillhurst Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90027

(323) 644-0100

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For the second year in a row the Valentines Day Prom at Big Bar was a huge success.  Hosted by Eugene Lee and Dan Long, they also had Aidan Demarest of Neat returning as MC. This year the party theme was “Midnight in Paris”, and they went all out transforming their great space in to a Parisian paradise.

I should mention in advance I enjoyed the night even more when I was voted to be a member of the Royal Court, and later in the night was fortunate enough to go on and win (with my boyfriend FG) the title of PROM KING AND QUEEN!! It wasn’t fixed I swear, I just made sure to include the words “World Peace” in my speech, and tell the crowd Aidan would be buying everyone a drink if we won! Worked a charm.

I want to start with a big thanks to Eugene and Dan for making the evening such a success as well as the judges Jessica Borges (City Sip) and Whitney Olschwanger for picking us as Prom King and Queen. We really appreciated our prize of the beautifully romantic horse drawn carriage ride! I always enjoy meeting new and fun people in the cocktail community and the carriage ride was just an additional treat to an already great Valentines Day.

I had such a fun night (even before I won a crown!) and was impressed with the overall set up of the place.  They had a number of interesting drink concoctions, activities and foods. There really was something for everyone. There was a Punch Garden, a make-your-own-cocktail setup (partnering with Miracle Mile Bitters), and a French inspired specialty cocktail list created by Daniel Long.

There were Mimes, an Accordion player, French singers, Characuture Artists and a Prom picture station set up. Everything you could want to feel whisked away to France!

The courtyard was beautiful with fairy lights adorning the trees and the 17ft Eiffel Tower in the middle really added to the overall atmosphere of the night.  I can imagine that even without the tower the courtyard is a beautiful space to sit and enjoy cocktails. I hear they have a wonderful Sunday brunch with Mimosas and I can totally see this place being great in the day time too.  It was a chilly night, but they have a lot of heat lamps so we survived outside.

If you’ve never been to Big Bar or Alcove Cafe & Bakery (which I hadn’t until this event) let me paint a quick picture of the venue.  After passing through the  beautifully lit courtyard you enter a building which divides in to two spaces, Alcove Bakery on the right and Big Bar on the left. I couldn’t help but think “What an interesting mix of two genres…pastries and cocktails!”

            

It does feel like two distinct spaces but they complement each other in their diversity. Also, I can’t imagine anything better than stumbling out of a bar in to a bakery at 1 o’clock in the morning… It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘Bartenders Breakfast!’

I do plan to review this place again on a ‘normal’ night, because it had such a great feel to it and i’m told the food is very good. I would imagine this to be true as the ‘French themed’ Hors d’oeuvres I had at the event were truly delicious.  We ordered a selection of food items which included the Croque Monsieur (little cheese and ham baguettes-Delicious!), Angus Beef Sliders with avocado and crispy bacon (I believe they have these on the regular menu and I highly recommend. We ended up ordering 3 servings!), Crab cakes (a little spicy, but lots of flavor) and Goat Cheese stuffed Medjool Dates wrapped in Bacon (need I say more! Yum!).

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COCKTAILS

As I mentioned above, Dan Long (Originally of First & Hope) put together a cocktail list inspired by the French theme of the night.  I started with the “Le Vie En Rose’.

First off, it was an attractive looking drink with lots of color, a large ice cube (I always love) and a  beautiful rose petal garnish.  It had a distinct floral taste throughout, was light but flavorful.  It was a pleasent drink overall, but just a little sour for my liking. I’m not sure what their ratio is at Big Bar but I found the majority of drinks to be a little on the sour side for me.  Having said that, ‘Le Vie En Rose’ definitely grew on me the more I sipped it and I found myself finishing the whole thing with no concern for a lack of sweetness!

Le Vie En Rose: Hudson white Whiskey, Rhuby Liqueur, Lime, Honey, Rose Essence

FG had ‘Le Cercle Rouge’. I enjoyed certain aspects of this drink. Hendricks Gin is one of my favorites, and like the ‘Le Vie En Rose’ drink this too had subtle floral flavorings in it, although was slightly more citric from the lemon.  It was a well balanced and interesting mix of flavors, sadly I just cannot get myself to like the taste of absinthe no matter how hard I try! FG certainly liked it though and devoured it quickly.

Le Cercle Rouge: Hendricks Gin, Solerno, Lillet rouge, Lemon, Absinthe

The champagne cocktail section was the most interesting to me and one of my favorite ‘areas’ of the event.  You had to pick your sugar cube (brown or white), then your bitters (from a large selection of Miracle Mile Bitters. that included Chocolate/Chili, Castilian, Gingerbread, Peach, Forbidden, Valentine and Orange)  and then decide between Rosé or Sparkling wine.  FG created a drink for me and decided to go for the ‘Valentine Bitters’.

The flavors were strawberry and rose, they smelt romantic and girlie to me, like strawberry blossom. These particular bitters were created especially for Big Bar by Louis Anderman (founder or Miracle Mile Bitters Co.) and were a “first attempt” he says, created just weeks earlier specifically for Prom.  In my opinion they turned out pretty darn good for a first shot! The strawberry notes and floral elements complimented the bubbles perfectly. It ended up being the simplest, but possibly the best drink I had all evening. I will be doing an interview with Louis in the next few days, so be sure to check back to the site for that!

After my deliciously simple champagne cocktail I used my drink ticket (which was a bargain at just $8) to try the punch bowl in the back courtyard.  The punch was refreshing and had a splash of prosseco on top. It was also a little sweeter (from the Disaronno) than all the other drinks of the night, which is always a plus for me and my sweet tooth!

Le Punch Drunk Love: Disaronno, Bourbon, Lemon, Cinnamon, Fig Tea, Bubbles

In conclusion, even if I hadn’t won a crown, I would have thoroughly enjoyed my evening at the Big Bar Prom and I know all the friends and colleagues that came with me had a great time too. We all got charactures done, (which were hilarious because they looked nothing like us) and had ‘prom style’ photos taken. I will be at Prom 2013 handing my crown over to the next King and Queen!

For those of you who came to the event and had Prom style photos taken, be sure to collect them HERE. Coming soon!

I’m giving Big Bar Valentines Prom (and this is a rating JUST for the event):

 

3.5 out of 5 Clover clubs for Drinks.

I liked the cocktails a lot and the variety was good, but they were all a little too sour for my palette and I preferred the champagne cocktail bar and punch to the cocktails I had. The service was super slow (although to be fair it WAS an event so it’s to be expected) but overall the drinks were balanced and well thought out selections, Dan Long always does a good job with that, and FG enjoyed everything he tried. I’m sure the regular bar on a ‘non-event’ night is excellent and I will be sure to comment on that in my next review.

 

4 out of 5 Platters for Food.

The food rating is one of the highest because the bar bites we got to try were all excellent, especially the sliders. I am excited to return to order food off the regular menu and also get my hands on some of those pastry, cakes and chocolates!

I will be returning again to see this location in the day time soon. If this event was anything to go by, the place is worthy of a second visit and I recommend you to give it a try!

Here are some photos that I borrowed from the Big Bar website…check out more on their facebook page.

Above photo Left to Right: Dan Long, Eugene Lee, Aidan Demarest

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VALENTINES SAVE THE DATE!

Hey everyone! So Valentines Day is fast approaching and I thought I would mention  just TWO events happening next week that you might be interested in… I personally hate how the restaurants in this city decide it’s ok to jack the prices through the roof and do a 5 course set menu (who wants that much food on a date?!) on Valentines Day, so this year my boyfriend and I have decided NOT to do the dinner route at all…but instead we have chosen to eat at home then have a fun time getting drunk on well made drinks at a great bar! I suggest you do the same!!! 😀

I am going to plug 2 events I heard about through USBG (United States Bartenders Guild) LA division…. There is the ‘Valentines Day Prom’ being held at Big Bar and an anti-Valentines ‘Love Stinks Kareoke’ being held at Neat.

Big Bar

1972 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

323 644 0100

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Big Bar will be hosting a ‘Midnight in Paris’ themed evening complete with artists, champagne cocktails, a punch bowl and a 17ft Eiffel Tower! I am told last years ‘Prom’ was a huge success, so I myself will be attending this year. I am looking forward to it and will report back on how it went!

Please Note: I have never been to Big Bar but will be reviewing it (as best I can in a probable drunken state) after the Prom. I have heard nothing but good things about the drink program there and am excited to check it out. If you have a special someone to go with you, I suggest you check it out. For more information go to their facebook page here.

Alternatively….

1114 N Pacific Avenue, Glendale, CA 91202

818 241 4542

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For those of you who HATE the idea of Valentines day, but still want to go out and get a decent drink then definitely head over to Neat.  I will be posting my full review for Neat soon, as I have been there a few times now and have always had an enjoyable time.

The wonderful and vibrant Aidan Demarest (who opened 2 of the best bars in LA- Seven Grand and Spare room) owns this place. As to be expected he has put together a great team and a slightly different approach to a drinks program here.  For those who don’t know him, Aidan is the co-founder of the cocktail consultation company Liquid Assets with his business partner, Marcos Tello.  He has bounced from bar to bar in LA and done magic with them, I will go in to more detail when I put up my full review, but what’s good to know is despite the commute to Glendale (which I know can be a put off for some of you in West LA) it is absolutely worth the journey. It really is a great little bar with a fun atmosphere and fantastic drinks, and honestly from personal experience and many would happily admit AIDAN DEMAREST CAN THROW A PARTY!!!

Really what more could you want?!  If you don’t have a ‘someone special’ for Valentines or you have just started dating and don’t want to do the dinner route then definitely head here, you will have a fun and crazy time for sure! It is being hosted by Caroline on Crack, there will be hand crafted cocktails for just $8 and Kareoke. Err hello?! What more could you ask for!?

ENJOY YOURSELF AND HAVE A HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!

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