I always love to share where my inspiration for my board cocktails comes from or the evolution of their creation. Looking back on my favorite five cocktails of the year, they were all inspired by my Brand Ambassadors or my Brand Representatives. Too often these are the folks that hide behind the curtain when it comes to our customers, but they are the same ones that can inspire what we put in our customers’ hands. Even at “Tales of the Cocktail” they have an award for their efforts —their tiring travel, the multitude of faces they carry in their heads, and all to give us a spirit they believe in. Though Los Angeles has not won this prestigious award from “Tales of the Cocktail” — which is well overdue — I would now love to introduce the four that have inspired me to create and test my boundaries as a bartender: Maurice Chevalier IV (Anchor Distilling), Brooke Arthur (Director of on premise education and outreach for House Spirits), Johnnie Mundell (Morrison Bowmore Distillers -“Single Malt Specialist”), Andie Brokaw (Heaven Hill), and Rachel Furman (Art In The Age). This will be a five-part series on the cocktails that each of them has inspired and now you get to try.
I’m starting with Maurice Chevalier IV, the man who inspires me daily in his love of craft spirits, cocktails, people, passion, and most of all what he chooses to do for a living. Because of all that, here is one of the recent cocktails he helped inspire me to make and for you to drink.
Inspired by: Maurice Chevalier IV from Anchor Distilling
- 1 oz Christian Drouin “Select” Calvados
- 1 oz Campari
- .75 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- .75 oz Simple Syrup
- 6-8 Red Grapes (muddle into ingredients)
- Shake/ Strain
- Top with Brut Champagne
Garnish: Two Red Grapes
*Named after the French impressionist painter Edouard Manet. His love of painting people, from the common folk, the artists in bars, to the aristocracy was perfect to associate his name with this cocktail. Not to mention the beautiful color this cocktail possesses.
Christian Drouin “Select” Calvados was the inspiration for this cocktail, but more importantly without Maurice’s passion for this particular product I wouldn’t have thought twice to work with Calvados at Cole’s. Maurice brought this calvados to me at the bar one day and said, “play.” He kept checking back with me throughout the week to make sure I fulfilled my promise of tasting the product and making a few cocktails. And why? Because as he stated later, he didn’t need to sell me on it— he knew it was a beautiful product and once I started creating with this calvados I would be hooked. And of course he was right. Maurice has never brought me anything he didn’t believe in himself, or knew that I wouldn’t believe in behind my bar.
Because he introduced Maurin into my world, Maurice is also the inspiration for our signature cocktail, the“Red Car.”This cocktail came about after having a “Red Hook.” I wanted something in between a “Manhattan” and a “Red Hook”— something that I could offer where the sweet vermouth wasn’t quite the highlight. The same week, who else but Maurice walks in and helps me fall in love with Maurin, and the “Red Car” was born. If you haven’t tried our signature cocktail, I want to welcome you back and try it with Rittenhouse Bonded Rye — you won’t be disappointed. On the fun side of Cole’s, a couple of us behind the bar have this wonderful obsession with Blue Curaçao. I am proud to say that I am one of them, and I am also proud to say that Maurice has the best Blue Curaçaos (“Senior Curaçao of Curaçao”) to work with, which makes us the lucky ones. Los Angeles started the Tiki movement, and Blue Curaçao, crème de banana (which Maurice is helping me find for a cocktail), spiced rums, et al are all part of the fun that can be had for a customer at the bar. But it is our job as a bartender and representative of a brand to give the customer the best product in order to create this unique bar experience. My love of my craft and bartending has led me to Maurice and his love of the spirits that he represents.
The “Manet Amour” will be on the Red Car Bar’s special board in mid-August, and believe me if you are looking for a great summer cocktail, this is it!!!
I can’t wait to write about the faces behind what we do behind and outside of the bar, and they are many. I hope to take you on a few of my cocktail journeys with some of these people over the next few articles, and I can’t wait for you to try some of these drinks at home.
Brent Falco, Cole’s Red Car Bar, Bar Manager