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.

IMG_6480

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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Drink of the Week

JAMESON ALMOND OLD FASHIONED

  • 2oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1/4oz Amaretto / Caramel Liqueur
  • 1/4oz Sugar Syrup
  • 3 dash orange bitters

Garnish: Orange twist

Stir ingredients with ice cubes for a good 2 minutes. The melting and stirring in of ice cubes is essential to the dilution and taste of the drink.

Serve over 1 large Ice Cube.

St.Patricks Day: Fun Facts

As i’m sure you all know it’s St.Patricks day (AKA St.Pattys Day) this coming week-end, which for many here in the USA is merely an excuse to get drunk and wear green. However, for those of you who don’t know, Saint Patricks Day is a Religious holiday that originated in Dublin, Ireland in the 18th Century and was originally a solemn affair.  The Irish Protestant organization ‘The Knights of St. Patrick’  held a parade on 17 March 1783 (March 17 being the date St.Patrick died in AD 461) and the tradition of this holiday being a celebratory occasion has continued ever since in Dublin and across the globe.

Saint Patrick was a Christian Missionary (yes, he was a real person) and a fair time after his death became the patron saint of Ireland.  He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved clover, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks has become a big feature of the day.  In 1903 St.Patricks Day became a public holiday in Ireland. Irish member of Parliament James O’Mara later introduced a law that required pubs and bars be closed on 17 March after drinking got out of hand, (doesn’t surprise me) but this was repealed in the 1970s.

So in between downing pints of Guinness, or doing ‘Irish Car Bomb’ shots this Saturday night I thought you might want to try something slightly different, but still sticking with this Irish theme. What better way to celebrate than with a variation of the classic drink an ‘Old Fashioned’.  I like this version of the drink because it is sweeter than a regular Old Fashioned and the almond notes of the Amaretto come through subtly.  In truth this recipe (from the Jameson website) may be slightly too sweet for many people, so you can afford to remove the sugar syrup altogether if you find this to be the case.

HAPPY SAINT PATRICKS DAY!!!!

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Wood & Vine

Wood & Vine

6280 Hollywood Blvd

Los Angeles,

323 334 3360

Monday date night with the boyfriend (FG) last week led us to Hollywood and the Bar/Restaurant ‘Wood & Vine’, named appropriately for its location on the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Vine Street.  The restaurant is located in the historic Taft building (Just across from the Pantages theater and home to the first offices of Charlie Chaplin and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) I loved the decor as soon as we entered the building.  I have noticed a lot of restaurants in LA are placing random objects and antique looking items around their rooms as decoration.  Wood and Vine follows this trend.

A somewhat strange selection of items were on display behind the bar. There were jars filled with bizarre looking brown fluids, old books, pictures and statues.  The funny thing is, there was probably someone hired with the sole purpose of thinking up and finding all the objects in that cabinet and then making it appear random.

The restaurant area was larger than I expected and continued upstairs with a balcony overlooking the bar below, the courtyard was actually in amongst the buildings and it felt very urban but a little claustrophobic when looking up at them towering above you.  We decided to sit at the bar, as we tend to enjoy talking to the bartenders anyway.  We got Justin who was really friendly and started us off with two cocktails from the winter drinks list (which will change as it becomes spring).

FG got the Kentucky Cashmere and I got a classic Aviation.  I do like this as a drink, and although it was made well it wasn’t quite sweet enough for me (we all know my sweet tooth). When I asked Justin if he could make it a little sweeter for me, I was thoroughly impressed that he didn’t just dunk simple syrup in it, like most other bartenders would. Instead he increased the Creme de Violette and Maraschino liqueur which meant the drink was certainly sweeter but still maintained it’s balance.

The Kentucky Cashmere drink was interesting.  FG loved it because of the bitterness of the fernet, but I liked the undertones of cocoa I could taste from the chocolate bitters.  The Chai tea flavors were subtle but certainly noticeable.

Kentucky Cashmere- Chai & Vanilla infused bourbon, Jelinek Fernet, Chocolate chili bitters

Aviation- Gin, Maraschino, Creme de violette, lemon juice

Justin gave us food menus and I was pleasantly surprised by the pricing, totally reasonable if not on the lower cost scale. They had a Monday Menu special which is a 3 course set menu for $18 (which I am told changes weekly).  The deal sounded amazing but we decided we’d rather mix and match off the main menu instead.

The menu wasn’t huge but there were so many good entrees to choose from and such a range of styles I couldn’t quite work out what kind of restaurant it was trying to be… American, Italian, Asian Inspired, French…dishes included Chicken & Waffles, Pork Belly, Gnocchi and Mussels.  As a mix of genres however, it seemed to work well and was certainly popular. The place was pretty busy on a Monday night, but then again it is Hollywood.

We decided to split the Beet Salad to start. Small portion but really tasty. Goats cheese and candied nuts are my favorite items on a salad, and lucky for me this had both.  They were candied pistachios this time (which is a nut I have never tried candied before) which were very tasty, with a slight salty sweetness to them.  I tried Beets for the first time this night too! They were much sweeter and juicier than I imagined so naturally I enjoyed them.

Beet Salad- Market greens, Candied pistachios, goat cheese, sherry vinaigrette $10

FG went for the Baked Gnocchi and I went for the Flat Iron Steak.  My Steak was cooked correctly to my medium/rare specifications and the asparagus was just the right amount of grilled. The carrot puree was creamy, sweet and delicate against the meat. A fine addition, I only wish they had given me more puree because it was just a small drizzle. The compound butter on top was excessive (size wise) and not really necessary in my opinion, I barely touched it because the meat and vegetables had enough flavor without the need for the overpowering taste of butter.

Flat Iron Steak- carrot puree, grilled asparagus, compound butter $21

FG was loving his Baked Gnocchi so I decided to try a bite even though I really dislike the texture of braised meat. The dish reminded me of a meal my mum made me back in England called ‘Meat and Dumplings’, it was like a stew and I almost wanted a slice of bread to dip in the gravy like sauce. It had a definite comfort food taste to it and the Gnocchi were cooked perfectly-not too soft and not too hard. Gnocchi is often made with semolina, flour, egg, potato, water and salt.  For those who’ve never had it, the best description comes from my old room mate Bryan;

“If potato and pasta had a baby, it would taste like Gnocchi”

Baked Gnocchi- Braised pork, goats cheese $16

The meal portions weren’t huge so we ordered the scallops also.   In my opinion Scallops are really hard to get perfect, and although they did a decent job of this dish, they were only good and not excellent (not like the ones I had at Piccolo).  The grits were an interesting addition to the dish and were creamy with less of a cornmeal taste than usual, which I prefer.  They worked surprisingly well along side the seafood. FG liked the grilled squash it came with and said it was perfectly juicy, I didn’t care for it myself though and didn’t really feel it was needed.

Pan-Seared Diver Scallops- Grilled squash, creamy grits, market greens $18

Wood & Vine has a fairly extensive list (over 50 different kinds) of Whisk(e)y, arranged in the menu by Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, Irish and American.  This was extremely appealing to FG but seeing as we had to drive we decided to share a second drink and ordered the ‘Hunter’. I found this drink to be ridiculously delicious and so simple, just two main ingredients in fact.  I’m sure FG would have preferred the Whiskey straight, but I really liked the light cherry sweetness coming through the Rye, it took away any burn there might have been. It is a drink I will remember to order elsewhere in future. I liked it that much.

Hunter- Redemption rye, Heering cherry liqueur, lemon peel

We decided to finish off with something sweet and Justin convinced us to go for the ‘Pot de creme’.  Wow! A lot of places are doing a salted caramel flavor combination but not many i’ve tasted have done it quite as well as this.

The salty ice cream and the intense sweetness of the butterscotch complimented each other perfectly, and it was so rich, creamy and smooth.  We had a similar dish at Bottega Louie a few weeks back (review coming soon) but this one may actually have been slightly better.  We ordered a scoop of Whiskey Ice Cream to try too, which tasted like baileys to me but was also very good.

Butterscotch Pot de Creme-  salted caramel ice cream $6

Drinks get 4 out of 5 Coupes. (Ratings)

All the drinks were executed correctly (I witnessed all the bartenders stirring Manhattans for a good 2 minutes or more which always gets bonus points from me. I am impressed when a bartender takes the time to make a drink correctly instead of rushing, especially in Hollywood.) Our drinks were all balanced, and Justin gets extra points for the way in which he increased the sweetness of my drink.

Food gets a good 3.5 out of 5 Platters.

All in all this place had great food too. Service was timely, and even when they got a little rush at around 10pm they still made sure everyone was served or acknowledged without a crazy wait time.  The food was incredibly affordable and there was a nice range of dishes to choose from.  It loses a platter purely because none of the dishes (except maybe dessert) jumped out as being exceptional, they were just very good.

We will certainly be back however to see new additions to the menu and try the drinks list for summer when it comes out. If you’re in Hollywood and like a good drink and food without a huge price tag, then be sure to check this place out. You certainly won’t be disappointed.

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The Jameson Bartenders Ball 2012

Event: Jameson Bartenders Ball 2012

Vanguard NightClub

6021 Hollywood Blvd

Hollywood, 90028

323 463 3331

The Jameson Bartenders Ball was on Monday 27th February 2012 in Los Angeles and turned out to be an extremely fun night for all who ventured out to Hollywood. Held at the Nightclub Vanguard, this was my third year at the Bartenders Ball, but I do believe it may have been the best so far!  Unlike the usual places I talk about,  Vanguard is a night club as apposed to a bar and has the feel of one large warehouse with a stage, bars and tables surrounding a dance floor.

The place itself is huge with a variety of side rooms and an outdoor patio/garden for smokers. Their website describes the venue as; ‘Huge. 17-foot side walls and a 25-foot apex..The stage, flanked by a semi-circle of large video screens, hosts live acts.  Gyrating bodies on the spacious cherry wood dance floor invites onlookers from the VIP balcony above.”  I couldn’t put it better than that, it was exactly as described.

I am not really in to nightclubs anymore, and feel really old saying “the music was a little loud for my liking” but truth be told I am done with my Hollywood clubbing days, i’d much rather be sipping on a clover club at a quiet bar. The music was ridiculously loud to the point where I could feel my body shake from the base out the speakers! Having said that, if i’m going to venture out in to club land…this was a pretty cool venue to attend.

The music line up was much better than previous years, after a good DJ there was a performance by ‘Young Dubliners’ which changed the tone to more Irish Rock, but was fun and certainly fit the Irish ambience. The band ’51/50′ were fantastic.  They consisted of a DJ mixing the latest dance tracks whilst a drummer beat in time to them.  It was an excellent show and got the whole crowd jumping.

The Bartenders Ball is a night out for bartenders only (and there are plenty of them in this city). It is an event sponsored solely by Jameson Irish Whiskey.  Every year it is held at a different location with lots of fun freebies and goodies on offer.

There were t-shirts being pressed with Jameson themes; A lady was airbrushing Jameson logos on to various body parts, there was a photo area for professional pics and cocktail servers bringing little hor d’oeuvres around including delicious mini burgers and my favorite, coconut shrimp on a stick. Being a Jameson fan, it’s a night I never like to shy away from.

The Sponsor

Jameson sells 30 million bottles a year making it the best selling Irish whiskey in the World and it’s easy to taste why. It is smooth with no nasty burning after taste, there are strong nutty and vanilla notes and I find it to be sweeter than most Whiskies.  It is the best in its price point in my opinion and unlike American whiskies, which are usually distilled once, and Scotch whiskies which require two distillations, Jameson is triple distilled in copper pot stills.  The product is made following the original 1780 recipe that uses malted barley combined with un malted barley and other grains.

I actually went to the original Jameson distillery in Dublin, Ireland with my boyfriend in 2009 and found it to be an extremely interesting experience. I strongly urge anyone who goes to Ireland to head over to the distillery.  They are no longer in production at the Dublin location, it has since moved to Cork, but either way the tour and museum were well worth the visit.  Ever since that trip to Ireland I have enjoyed Jameson more and more, on the rocks or with ginger (real ginger that is).

The choices of drinks at the event were limited to Jameson & Ginger, Jameson & Soda and Jameson on the rocks.  They used the Jameson 12 year for these drinks, which although this was good it was nothing in comparison to the Jameson 18 year and Jameson Reserve available to VIPs in the back room.  These were even smoother whiskies which I was happy to enjoy neat.  I have to admit, the 18 year was so good I had probably one too many of those! 🙂

Vanguard looked great with the ‘Jameson Green’ lights and decorations that adorned the room and the Jameson Irish Whiskey drinks were in full supply at the 3 open bars. This years theme was strongly influenced by the ‘Barrel Men’.

 There was a little info on a side plaque that read ‘THE STORY OF THE BARREL MEN ICON: Working at the Old Jameson Distillery in 1780 had the best wages and maintained the best working conditions of all distilleries in Dublin at the time.  To this day you see two barrel men either side of the Jameson label. These two men symbolize the generations of loyal men and women who have distinguished themselves by their hard work and passion for the Jameson brand.”  I love an event with a little history behind it, but I love one even more that has such a great product for free…and in copious amounts!

Dancing and drinking ensued in to the early hours and I had quite the hangover the next morning.

All in all the night was a huge success and I am even more excited to see what the Bartenders Ball organizers come up with next year. It will be hard to top this one. We’ll see…

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Drink of the Week

Whisk(e)y Sour

  • 20z Whiskey (of choice)
  • 10z Lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Simple Syrup
  • 3/4oz Egg White

Dry shake, then shake with ice, then strain in to a sour glass.

Garnish: None needed in my opinion, but a cherry and orange slice are typical.

PLEASE NOTE: This photo of a Whiskey Sour, although in my favorite coupe glass, is actually incorrect. It should technically be served in a Sour glass.

This drink is a classic sour. Sours belong to one of the old families of original cocktails and are described by Jerry Thomas in his 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks as mixed drinks containing a base liquor (bourbon or some other whiskey in this case of a whiskey sour), lemon or lime juice, egg white, and a sweetener.

To me a Whiskey sour, when done correctly, is utterly delicious. Sadly not all places will use egg, but if you go to one of the many mixology bars popping up around the city you can assume they will make it correctly. The egg white is really what makes the drink so good to me! It’s creamy, slightly sour, and utterly delicious in it’s simplicity.

I have tasted fantastic versions of this classic at Seven Grand and Bar|Kitchen  in Downtown and Bar Chloe in Santa Monica, to name a few. There are of course hundreds of locations around the city that will make you a great one. Just be sure they use fresh ingredients and egg white in their recipe.

Go get one tonight and ENJOY!

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Filed under Drink of the Week