What We’re Reading: An Ode to the Los Angeles cocktail movement

May 3rd, 2012 — 2:25pm

Chin Up Cocktail at The VarnishFrom Highland Park to Venice Beach, Our New Columnist Finds That the Cocktail Moment Has Become a Movement – LA Weekly

By Patrick Comiskey

The drink is called the Chin-Up, which seems inadequate as solace, halfhearted as a name. It blends Beefeater’s gin and Cynar, a peculiar digestif containing cynarine, the active ester that gives the artichoke its odd aftertaste. It is finished with muddled cucumber, a splash of vermouth, a pinch of salt.

It is not a drink you would ever in your life ask for, and yet there it is before you, miles from a martini. When you walked into the Varnish, the bar next to the bar at Cole’s sandwich shop downtown, and said to the bartender, “Surprise me,” you certainly weren’t anticipating this sort of surprise. But now it’s here, and in the next 30 seconds you’ll learn whether you’re anywhere near as adventurous as the drink you just ordered.

Such is the state of things in the cocktail scene in Los Angeles, 2012. The initial flurry of activity came toward the end of the last decade, when the Doheny, the Varnish and the Edison opened; when restaurant programs at Providence, Comme Ça and Rivera kicked into high gear; when bar talent from New York and elsewhere swooped in on pop-up venues like the ephemeral Test Kitchen, or elevated the brilliant and short-lived Tar Pit. In the three years since Jonathan Gold declared this “the Cocktail Moment in Los Angeles” in these pages, the Moment has become a Movement — one that shows no signs of slowing down.

Many of the city’s most successful cocktail impresarios — Cedd Moses, Julian Cox, Mark and Johnny Houston, Vincenzo Marianella — have established consulting companies that routinely fire up new recipes, new techniques, new disciplines and schools of thought, employing a bewildering array of new products, served up in venues as thematically diverse as Paris is to Havana. If Los Angeles is one of this country’s great melting pots, its bar scene is rapidly becoming its mirror.


Photo by Anne Fishbein

Golden Gopher: Hangar 24 Tap Takeover – Beers in Paradise

May 2nd, 2012 — 12:04am

Beers in Paradise had a chance to visit Golden Gopher in downtown Los Angeles for their Hangar 24 tap takeover this past Thursday, April 19th. On hand from Hanger 24 was brewer John Kopta and marketing guru, Rafael Hurtado. The Hanger 24 brand has been ubiquitous around local super markets and liquor stores throughout Southern California. Lately, Hangar 24 Brewery has been making more of an impact towards the craft beer community, due to their popular Barrel Roll series. This is why we had to attend this special event at the Golden Gopher. The evening was dedicated to their special new Barrel Roll#4 release of Hammerhead Barleywine, as well as a returning appearance of their already popular Pugachev’s Cobra Russian Imperial Stout. Comparing both side-by-side, was simply heavenly, add Golden Gopher ambient atmosphere, and you got yourself an epic night.

The Golden Gopher is growing popular with Craft Beer, (20 craft beer taps) along with outstanding customer service and a prolific music menu, this is sure to be best spot to entertain and convert your non-craft beer friend. Don’t go anywhere with people that don’t drink beer? Have them try their “beer cocktails” (coming soon). They have two that incorporate beer along with flavored tequila and other ingredients for a more cocktail taste. We’d like to thank the Golden Gopher for converting people into craft beer, in whatever way they can. The “Mexican Phoenix” was rather tasty. It’s Bootlegger’s Black Phoenix with jalapeno tequila, topped with cocoa powder was simply amazing.

Golden Gopher’s diverse list of craft beer, curated by the Beer Chicks, is specially designed to suit the taste buds of a beginner craft beer drinker to a more educated craft beer geek. Personally, we went for Hanger 24’s Barrel Roll Series, the Pugachev’s Cobra and Hammerhead, but along with Hanger 24, some of the other breweries that supply them and our taste buds are Ballast Point, Bootlegger’s, Cismontane, Allagash, and Stone to name a few. Their beer menu is available on their website, but for a more current menu, you’ll just have to check it out.


The Kentucky Derby @ Cole’s Red Car Bar (5/5/12, Noon – 5pm)

May 1st, 2012 — 5:49pm

This May for the Derby, Cole’s Red Car Bar is hosting a Louisville family style Derby Party. Who knows better how to host this event then Brent Falco the girl who was born and raised in Louisville, Ky- who also happens to be the Bar Manager of Cole’s. And what is this family style party??? Here’s how it works. You show up and have one of Brent’s mom’s home-style mint juleps & Derby Pie, draw one of the Derby horses names from a bartender’s hat, cheer on the horse you drew as the race is running, and if your horse comes in 4th, 3rd, 2nd, or 1st you win a prize. Of course the prizes, like the $ at the track, get higher in value depending on the place of your horse. For those who don’t win? Well, like the track we only have more cocktails and food for you to drown your sorrow. If you can’t go to the track, we hope you join us for as close as you can get to Louisville hospitality.

Brent Falco, Cole’s RCB, Bar Manager