Comme Ca’s spring cocktails celebrate a Provencal theme.
Yes, the onslaught of spring continues. But it’s the best kind with more spring cocktails debuting. This time from Comme Ca on Melrose Avenue. The new spring cocktail menu, a collaboration of the bartenders (Jeff Knudsen, Tim Loden, Johnny Wactor and Brent Henry), showcases a Provencal theme with light, refreshing concoctions and seasonal ingredients like strawberries and cucumbers.
Following the formula established by Comme Ca’s original mixologist Sam Ross, the new cocktails are variations on classics with switches in spirits and bitters. “We’re changing around a couple things but it’s still staying true to the classic. And I think that’s one of the reasons Comme Ca’s drinks are really successful. Because we’re not trying to get crazy with making our own bitters. We don’t do infusions, with the exception of the bacon Bloody Mary. In general, I’m not for infusions because I like celebrating ingredients in their true form and finding different ways to highlight it,” said Vista Murphy, Comme Ca’s general manager.
At a hosted tasting, I got to pick out new favorites off the new menu. Here they are with some notes.
Photo Gallery of Comme Ca’s Spring Drinks
Basil Blush: White rum, strawberry, basil, balsamic. This cocktail has been described as “not for the weak hearted as it’s for a specific palate.” Don’t let its innocent looks fool you as it’s surprisingly potent and kicks you in the teeth. Have it before your meal to get you salivating.
Bridgetown Twist: rye, gin, velvet falernum. My new favorite! Boozy but it doesn’t come on strong, just pings the tongue.
Lillet Bee: gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon, egg white. There’s a very subtle savoriness in this gin sour variation.
JFK to LAX: vodka, muddled citrus, cucumber. Bartender Brent created this for a customer who had just gotten off a flight from New York and requested a cocktail STAT. And this drink is so refreshing, just what you’d want after a long flight.
Greenpoint: rye, yellow chartreuse, Carpano Antica. This started out as one of the Manhattan Variations, which is still an option on the menu. Since it was so popular Comme Ca gave it its own place on the list. Another new favorite. Very approachable and smooth Manhattan.
Archangel: gin, Aperol, cucumber. Vista says this is a twist on a gin martini where the Aperol replaces the dry vermouth. So boozy and yet refreshing. The light bitterness becomes more prominent on the finish. Thanks to the cucumber and Aperol, it’s the perfect summer cocktail.
Golden Delicious: applejack , lemon, honey. A very light, apple-y cocktail that may appeal to those who don’t want anything too strong. But for me, it’s way too subtle for my tastes.
Flora de Lys: tequila, St. Germain, lime, rose water. A “girly” cocktail in the usual sense with its sweetness. The St. Germain comes across as a sweet lychee flavor here.
Cherry Julep: bourbon, muddled cherries, simple syrup. Meh, wasn’t crazy about this one simply for the fact that it was too thick and syrupy and reminded me of cough syrup.
If you’re not big on cocktails, you’ll be happy to hear that Comme Ca now has beer taps! Four to be exact. Currently there are three draft beers with one still TBA: La Gavroche French red ale, Stiegl Austrian pilsner and Rince Cochon Blonde. All very light, which makes them just the thing for these warmer days.
8479 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, California 90069 (map)
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