Tag Archives: whiskey

Holy Smokes!

The Cowboy Killer_MG_5673

  • Griffs Cowboy Whisky
  • Miracle Mile Chocolate Bitters
  • House made tobacco syrup

Garnish: Hickory Smoke and Orange Peel

Glassware: Small Mason Jar

I recently tried one of the most popular concoctions at The Wallace in Culver City, and it was so intriguing I felt the need to do a little post on it. If you live in close proximity (i.e. Anywhere in Los Angeles!) I highly recommend making the journey to the restaurant itself to have it made by its creator, Director of Beverages: Greg Bryson.

For my regular readers you will notice the format of this article is similar to past ‘Drink of the week’ posts, however I’m not including the amounts of ingredients in this one, mainly because the chances of anyone wanting to make this at home is very unlikely and also because the tobacco syrup took a long time for Greg to perfect (a few seconds too long steeping the tobacco makes it undrinkable apparently). There is also nicotine in the drink (not dangerous levels) but I would rather leave this one to the professionals and have you try the drink at it’s place of origin instead. :)Smoking The Cowboy Killer

There are a number of fantastic drinks on the current menu that Mr. Bryson has created, and although he says he usually tries to steer away from making any kind of drink that could be deemed “gimmicky”, this is certainly one of his show stoppers. Greg did point out that although the visual effect is great, the smoke is actually an important part of the drink itself. It creates an aroma that fills your senses when you take a sip and changes the flavors of the drink. “It isn’t JUST for show, there is a very definite reason for it’s addition.”

Reason or no reason, in my opinion the drink just looks seriously cool!

This Cocktail (and it really is a Cocktail in the fundamental definition of the word- Strong, Sweet & Aromatic) is sort of a smoky twist on an Old Fashioned. So many “twists” of classics keep popping up, but this is certainly a more unusual approach.  Greg smokes each drink in front of the bar guests using hickory wood chips in a Polyscience smoke gun and almost every patron at the bar pops their head up to watch the process when one is ordered.

The little mason jar (used as the glassware) quickly fills with a plume of smoke and is presented to the guest with the lid on. You can see the vapor swirling around in the jar so when they remove the lid a cloud of creamy white fog swirls up and it is at this point he suggests taking your first sip. The drink does contain tobacco, however it isn’t cigarettes you smell as the lid lifts…it’s more like a camp fire.

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The Cowboy Killer has a nice slight sweetness to it and the Griffs Cowboy Whisky compliments all the other elements in the drink perfectly. It isn’t too big for the non-whisky drinker to enjoy, and those who love any kind of smoky style drink (eg. Laphroaig or Mescal drinkers) will love this creation.

All in all, this drink isn’t only interesting to look at, but really great to sip on too. Stop in at The Wallace between Tuesday and Saturday to see Greg in person, but either way no matter when you choose to go in, I highly recommend you make a point of trying this wonderful tipple.

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Drink of the Week: Morning Sex

Not sure what kind of “spam” messages I am likely to get posting this drink name, but it’s too darn delicious NOT to put on the site!

Morning SexMorning Sex

  •  2oz Bourbon
  • 3/4oz Lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Passion Fruit Puree
  • 1/2oz Masala Chai Syrup
  • 3 dash Peychauds Bitters

Shake and serve over a large ice cube.

Garnish: Orange twist or pansy flower

You can find this drink, among other greats, on the drink menu at The Wallace, Los Angeles- A fantastic new spot in the heart of Culver City. The food there is nothing short of exceptional (so much so, that I am coming out of my writing drought to discuss it!) and the drinks, although great already, will be getting a fresh spin in coming weeks from their new beverage director- Greg Bryson.

The drink listed above  is currently my favorite drink in Culver City.  From it’s memorable fun name to it’s accessible flavor profile, this drink has everything I could love in it.

The bourbon is subtle enough that any type of drinker can enjoy its flavor, no matter what their usual base alcohol preference is. It  has a delicious tropical sweetness coming from the fresh passionfruit juice, with no unnatural flavors to it (that tend to come from sweeter/fruity drinks.) It is refreshing, summery and makes me feel like i’m on vacation in Hawaii or the Caribbean when sipped on a hot day!

The presentation at The Wallace over a large ice cube also makes it an accessible ‘not too girly’ looking drink option for both men and women., which I think is very smart. In past few visits they have started to garnish it with a pansy (flower), which looks really pretty and a nice alternative to the orange peel.

I admit this recipe will be hard to reproduce at home, in particular the ‘chai syrup’ but it’s definitely worth heading in to The Wallace to try it on its home turf.  Whilst you’re there, try some of the food too…it’s all fantastic. I would write a review on the whole place right now, but I plan to go back for a 4th visit (in 2 weeks) to try even more food before I write about it. It’s just that good.

Delicious, Delicious, Delicious.

 

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Drink of the Week

Egg Nog Egg Nog and cookies

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream

Garnish: Grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, whisk the milk and sugar together over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Whilst continuing to whisk pour your hot milk/sugar mixture into the eggs in a slow and steady stream.
  2. Return mixture to pan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, (this usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes but do not let it simmer.) Quickly strain into a bowl. Stir in bourbon and cream. Let the drink cool completely then refrigerate until chilled.

Ok ok, I know i’m a little late for a Christmas drink…but to be fair I was off enjoying the holidays these past weeks and didn’t have time to write this great old recipe up! Seeing as it’s  currently winter this classic is still a great option to make, especially if you plan on a late holiday party or simply want a creamy delicious drink to create at home! The above recipe will serve 6 people and is a recipe I found on the Martha Steward website.  I chose this version because it is pretty traditional in character and very easy to execute, it is also extremely tasty.

Sherry Egg NogKappler Eggnog

  • 2oz Sherry
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar

Shake thoroughly and serve in tall glass, garnish with Nutmeg.

This recipe was created by George Kappler and documented in 1895.  It was a popular version at the time, however nowadays people tend to want the heated version above it because they don’t like the idea of having a whole raw egg in their drink.  Using a whole egg in a drink is often referred to as a flip and provided the eggs are fresh these drinks are perfectly safe to have.  Some of my favorite drinks out there include raw egg (Clover Club, Whiskey Sours), because they give a creamy texture to any drink they are in.

Egg Nog is known across the World as a Christmas drink, and there are literally hundreds of variations/recipes to choose from.  The recipes may contain whiskey, rum, brandy, bourbon, or cognac. Some will contain multiple spirits in the drink.

The origins of the Egg Nog are unclear however many suggest it dates back hundreds of years to Medieval Europe with suggestion that it originated in East Anglia, England as an ‘Egg Flip’ (named after the technique of ‘flipping’ the egg back and forth when mixing.)  Some believe however it is a variation developed later on from the Posset, a British hot drink in the 19th Century that involved heating milk with ale until it curdled and adding spices.

Whatever the origins, the end result is very interesting and surprisingly ‘NOT’ eggy in taste. It is a strong, creamy and tasty drink that’s almost like a custard in consistency. The nutmeg on the nose makes it very appropriate for the holiday season and a good option for Christmas parties.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed some great New Year celebrations this week. There will be lots of new restaurant openings, drink creations and mixology events again this year, so be sure to keep checking in for all your “Fussy One” 2013 reviews and posts!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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Drink of the Week

Acero

  • 2oz Rye
  • 3/4oz Lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Maple Syrup (Organic Grade B)
  • 1 Egg white

Garnish: Bacon piece

This drink was created by Greg Bryson for the new Fall menu that just rolled out at Hostaria Del Piccolo in Santa Monica (it will also be featured at their new location in Venice, which opens next month). The recipe was inspired by a drink called the Woodstock, which uses Gin as the base, orange bitters, Maple and Lemon juice.  I couldn’t find ANY notable history on The Woodstock i’m afraid, however the history of the Acero is simple. Greg wanted a drink using Maple Syrup for his Fall menu and after several variations found the above combination of ingredients to be the best! Hostaria Del Piccolo is an Italian Restaurant, therefore they named the drink ‘Acero’ which means ‘Maple’ in Italian.

I love this drink because it’s deliciously sweet, has a creamy texture from the egg white and the lemon balances with the Rye and Maple flavors perfectly.  The bacon garnish tastes great too, and the sweet salty pairing is a great combo.  It basically has a Whiskey Sour taste to it, only more autumnal because of the maple syrup.

I am told it does make a difference with the kind of maple syrup you use, Greg specifies to use Organic Grade B because other grades can end up being too sweet and throw the balance off.

Have a go making this at home (a great option for Thanksgiving dinner) or if you’re in Los Angeles, make a point to head over to Hostaria Del Piccolo in the coming months to try this and other great new drinks off of their menu.

ENJOY!

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Drink of the Week

Vieux Carré

  • 1 oz Rye Whisk(e)y
  • 1oz Cognac
  • 1oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp Benedictine
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Garnish: Lemon Twist (although I prefer a cherry!)

Stir ingredients in ice for 2 minutes, then strain in to an ice filled Old Fashioned glass.

As the majority of the Worlds’ cocktail community prepares to head to the sticky humidity of Louisiana next week, I thought I should put up a good old New Orleans classic.  I like this drink because it’s very strong and aromatic but still really smooth when made properly.

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, and the city itself was originally centered around the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré (which means “Old Square” in French).  The drink is named after this famous region, which is a hot spot for tourists and the location of almost all the action at TOTC-Tales of the Cocktail.

The drink was invented in the early 1930’s by Walter Bergeron, although it wasn’t seen in writing until the book ‘Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em’ was printed in 1937.  It is said to have been created at the famous Carousel Bar inside the Hotel Monteleone.

The Carousel Bar was one of my favorite bars in NOLA, because of its very unique ‘moving’ feature.  The bar seating is on an actual carousel that very slowly rotates around the central bar (one turn takes approx. 15mins), at first it’s a little strange to see the room spinning around you but to be honest it really just adds to the overall feeling of disorientation one usually feels on a trip to New Orleans!

If you enjoy a nice stiff drink I highly recommend giving this classic a try, and for those of you going to Tales of the Cocktail next week I suggest ordering a Vieux Carré at the bar where it was first created. Enjoy!

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Interview with a Bartender: Arash Pakzad

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

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

Arash Pakzad

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

*****

 Q & A


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

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

*****

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

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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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