I had a lot of cocktails last year but only a few were memorable. Here are my top 10 cocktail faves from my bar adventures in 2008. They’re listed from most recent to so not recent.
No Named Bourbon Cocktail at Riva: This baby was off the menu and created by the bartender, a bourbon lover herself. It was an extremely tasty concoction of bourbon, dry Vermouth, apricot liqueur, St. Germain elderflower and some lemon juice.
Manhattan at Osteria Mozza: The Manhattan here was perfect, soo delicious and smooth. There was a little extra tang of something in the savoring of it that I couldn’t put my finger on. AND they used brandied cherries instead of the despicable maraschino cherries. I tell ya, there’s nothing like sipping on a Manhattan at a beautiful marble bar with your honey on a cold winter night.
Dark & Stormy at Little Dom’s: The unanimous favorite out of the six vintage cocktails we tried at this charming Italian restaurant was the Dark & Stormy which uses housemade ginger syrup in place of ginger beer.
Chocolate Mint Milkshake at 8 oz.: Made from Kahlua, Baileys, vodka and housemade vanilla ice cream I was pleasantly surprised by the yumminess of this. There was that hint of mint from the Baileys and also from the fresh mint leaves that were muddled into it. So it was naturally tasty and refreshing rather than sickly sweet. It helps that vanilla ice cream was used instead of chocolate, which would have been over the top. And I couldn’t really tell there was alcohol in it, only that its consistency was lighter than a regular shake.
Bee’s Knees by Damian Windsor: My fave bartender Damian was good enough to not only supply the Partida tequila for my blogiversary (Silamith of Martin Miller’s Gin provided the gin) but he even created a cocktail menu. My fave of the list was the Bee’s Knees made with Martin Miller’s Gin, lemon and runny honey. It turned out to be everyone’s favorite as well as it was the first to run out at the blogiversary.
Gin and Tarragonic at Gin & Tonic Showdown at the Edison: This baby was the winner at the gin & tonic competition sponsored by Martin Miller’s Gin. Created by Joel Black of Comme Ca, this cocktail was chosen for both its presentation, effortless yumminess and imaginative reinvention of a simple classic.
Medicina Latina at Malo: Marcos Tello of The Edison created this tasty tequila treat of 4 Copas Reposado, ginger juice, agave and lime with a Del Maguey Mezcal Mist. So drinkable and that’s saying a lot coming from me considering I’m not a fan of tequila. My hands-down favorite tequila cocktail.
Manhattan at Father’s Office 2.0: OK, yeah, another Manhattan but this was too good to not include in this list. This Manhattan is made of Michter’s Rye, Carpano Antica Vermouth and barrel-aged bitters. And it was the most drinkable Manhattan I think I’ve ever had, meaning that it didn’t make me wince and cough in that first sip. Rather it was soo smooth and sweet. Loved it. Definitely my cocktail of choice at FO 2.
Old Blue Eyes at Neomeze: Sure this drink was probably one of the most expensive cocktails I’ve ever had ($21) but it had the effects of two drinks. Made with two parts Bombay Sapphire Gin and one part Johnnie Walker Blue label, it tastes mostly of gin, obviously, with just a hint of Johnnie Walker. Not a problem if you’re a gin lover but if you’re a whiskey fiend like me and never tasted the Blue Label, a whiskey not for beginners, before you might be a little sad. In any case, Old Blue Eyes was some strong and smooth stuff..hey! like Frankie’s voice.
Imperia & Caviar at Fraiche: Albert Trummer, the mixologist who put Fraiche on the cocktail map, created this luxurious cocktail. It’s comprised of an Imperia vodka martini sitting atop a small mountain of crushed ice on a silver platter. Accompanying it are two small jars of caviar and two plastic spoons. You have to slurp the tiny teaspoon of caviar before sipping the martini. I was very surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the taste of this martini. No, it didn’t have a fishy taste. And unlike past vodka martinis I’ve tasted, this one was actually very drinkable. There was none of the harshness you usually get when drinking straight vodka but rather it was smooth and deceptively light. A tingling on the tongue followed instead of the bad aftertaste that accompanies most vodka martinis I’ve experienced. Unfortunately I don’t think they still serve this cocktail at Fraiche and Albert is no longer there.
BTW, here is a list of my fave bartenders in L.A. and a map of bar favorites from 2008.
Thanks to Food GPS for creating this great idea for a blog post with his His Top 15 Meals in Los Angeles from 2008.