The Best Cocktails In L.A. – LAist. Caña Rum Bar & Las Perlas Make The Top Two!

July 18th, 2013 — 2:58pm

The Best Cocktails In L.A., 7/17/13 – LAist
There’s a lot of drinking to be done in this here city, and where you throw one back on a daily basis is likely just as much about quality as it is proximity. Thankfully our LAist editors are always on the lookout for a good drink in our citywide travels. We picked our favorite tipples around town to save you the mileage. Here are the cocktails that made the cut. Read the rest here and check out the top two favorite drinks from Caña Rum Bar & Las Perlas!

Mix This: The Dry Martini (By Max Seaman, GM at The Varnish)

July 16th, 2013 — 11:28am

A dry Martini may be the ultimate drinker’s drink: strong crisp and clean without any sugars or liqueurs, you can drink them all night long without getting bogged down. The key to a good dry Martini: Dry gin, high quality vermouth, cold ice and perfect dilution.

THE GIN: Make sure to use a good London Dry style gin. We prefer classics like Beefeater or Plymouth, but there are many great brands on the market. DO NOT use a modern-style gin like Hendrick’s. These types of gin are intended to be consumed on their own instead of mixed, and they do not “play well with others.” Hendrick’s, for example, is very sweet with a strong rose-water flavor that will clash with the vermouth and create an odd flavor. A London Dry style gin will integrate with the vermouth for a whole flavor greater than the sum of it’s parts.

THE VERMOUTH: We love Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Dry, but there are other good dry vermouths out there. Try some out and see what you like.

THE RATIO: For whatever reason, many modern drinkers have become afraid of the taste of vermouth. We think a real Martini needs a strong dose of vermouth. We like a ratio of 2 parts gin to 1 part vermouth, but some people prefer 3 to 1 or even 5 to 1. However, we recommend against the “Winston Churchill” school of drinking a straight glass of gin while looking at a bottle of vermouth from across the room.

THE ICE: Make sure to use ice straight from the freezer. Remember, your freezer is set to a temperature below 32 degrees, and the colder the starting point of the ice, the colder your Martini. Also keep in mind that ice may pick up flavors of whatever is in your freezer. We also recommend chilling your glassware in the freezer, as this will keep your Martini colder longer. Freeze both the mixing glass and your coupe or Martini glass.

STIR, NEVER SHAKE. Shaking adds air bubbles and will create a cloudy, watery mess of a Martini. James Bond was a great secret agent but didn’t know much about cocktails. Make sure to fill the mixing glass all the way to the top with ice – the more ice you use the colder the drink. Stir gently – the idea is to chill the drink and also add just the right amount of water – enough to mellow and integrate the flavors, but not enough so that the drink is a watery mess.

THE GARNISH: An olive vs. a twist is completely up to the drinker. (no shame in asking for both!) A lemon twist adds aroma and a touch of bitterness. An olive adds a tasty snack.

If garnishing with a twist, cut a small strip of lemon peel with as little white pith as possible. Hold with your forefingers high above the glass with the outside of the peel facing down. Gently squeeze out the essential oils, and try to “rain” them down evenly over the liquid. If you hold it too close to the glass, the Martini will be harsh and bitter. After you’ve squeezed the oils, gently brush the rim of the glass with the peel. If you like your Martini a bit more bitter, drop the peel into the glass. If not, set it aside.

If garnishing with an olive, be creative: no need to be limited by those olives stuffed with pimento. There are many delicious olive varieties in world. We like to use cerignola olives from Italy.

-2oz Beefeater Gin
-1oz Dolin Dry Vermouth.

Place ingredients in a frozen 16oz pint glass. Fill with very cold ice and stir gently until the ice has given up about .75-1oz water. Strain into a frozen coupe or Martini glass. Garnish with an olive or a lemon twist. (or both!)

Max Seaman, The Varnish, GM

Music Monday: Son Ark Live at Casey’s Friday July 19th!

July 15th, 2013 — 4:25pm

Son Ark has been filling establishments across Los Angeles with their unmistakably unique brand of folk rock and with lyrics that tell tales of bygone eras and heartbreaking love lost. Son Ark’s “unvarnished, heart-on-its-sleeve roots rock sneaks up on you like a speed trap on a two-lane highway” (Buzzband LA)

You can catch these dudes shaking things up Friday, July 19th at Casey’s. Tunes start at 10P and they go till they run out of songs.