The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival has always been more about the wine than cocktails. It’s in its name after all. But with cocktails now moving up in the esteem of foodies, restaurants and chefs, the annual festival has made sure to incorporate delicious drinks and bartenders more into its festivities. Yayy!
And if you can’t make up your mind about which events to go to this year (which takes place August 22-25), I’ll make it easy for you. These. I’ve included the cocktail-intensive ones as well as a schedule of where some of your favorite L.A. bartenders will pop up. The biggest deal is undoubtedly the appearance of The Aviary’s Chef Grant Achatz and Charles Joly!
Hinoki & the Bird Mixology Lunch with Charles Phan and David Myers (Friday the 23rd): After this lunch, you should probably call it a day, unless you’re able to take a nap at work a la Don Draper. Mixologist Chris Hopkins of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will be doing live cocktail demos of drinks that will pair up with the four courses created by famous chefs Charles Phan (The Slanted Door), David Myers and Kuniko Yagi (Hinoki). I have to admit, at first I was skeptical of Hopkins. I’m not familiar with his work and I wasn’t crazy about his predecessor’s cocktails, which were wayy too sweet, frou-y and juicy for my tastes. But before he took over for the hotel’s entire cocktail program, he was the GM and mixologist for craft cocktail-serious Vesper Bar. So I have high hopes that this will be a delicious-albeit-boozy lunch. Prepare your getting-off-work-early excuses now.
Grant Achatz Cocktail Demonstration (Saturday the 24th): I’m truly amazed that this event hasn’t sold out yet! It’s renowned Chicago chef Grant Achatz and his James Beard award-winning beverage director Charles Joly, people! The text on this event says it’ll be “an hour of tasting and exploration into the fascinating world of spirits and cocktails that is sure to captivate you” and I don’t doubt it. I mean, look at The Aviary’s version of an Old Fashioned in the rocks.
Live on Grand (Saturday the 24th): Back in the day, Food & Wine used to do these epic food fests that took over the Universal Studios backlot. It was gorgeous, it was gluttonous and something I looked forward to every single year. Live on Grand seems a continuation of that, except with a live performance. And on top of that all the cocktail talent for this particular party is not to be missed. Josh Goldman and Julian Cox will be mixing for Circa and Acabar AND Grant Achatz and Charles Joly will be doling out drinks for The Aviary. Boom!
Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival Bartender Schedule
- Giada’s Festa Italiana (Thursday the 22nd): Alie & Georgia and Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni for Black Market Liquor Bar
- Asian Night Market (Friday the 23rd): Matthew Biancaniello for Eat Your Drink
- Live on Grand (Saturday the 24th): Josh Goldman and Julian Cox for Circa and Acabar and Grant Achatz and Charles Joly for The Aviary
- Sunday’s Grand Tasting (Sunday the 25th): Paul Sanguinetti for Patina, Pablo and Steve for Old Lightning and Grant Achatz and Charles Joly for The Aviary
EVENT: THURSDAY, AUGUST 22 to SUNDAY, AUGUST 25