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Spirit Guide: Classic Cocktail Root Experimentation with Dustin Newsome of Seven Grand DTLA

January 23rd, 2013 — 3:09pm


Any cocktail creator worth their salt will openly concede the crux, or foundation of any new or innovative cocktail is rooted in a classic, or parent cocktail created 100 or so some odd years ago. The classics are called so for a reason, for having remained relevant for so long they are forever idolized, sometimes bastardized, but always the foundation of any cocktail program.

Creating original cocktails, however, requires keen attention to the foundation beset by its parent, and is often finished off by the spawn of its creator’s imagination and, with any luck, given some cleaver or ironic name to convince the imbiber of its merits.  Using this plug-and-play strategy can more than often result quite pleasant and thoughtful outcomes for even the most novice of our industrious cocktail fabricating brethren.

I will humbly share what successes I have found in my experience Mr. Potato-heading. Find your favorite classic; take a sour for instance (those cocktails containing citrus juice), and thoughtfully substitute one sweetener for another. For instance; a cleaver way to alter the classic whiskey sour (egg white, lemon juice, simple syrup, bourbon-whipped and strained with angostura bitters garnish) and subsequently create something original is to change both the sweetener and garnish. For this example you may indulge my fancy for the exotic and exciting, therefore by simply substituting honey, no, let’s make that buckwheat honey! for our simple syrup and freshly shaved nutmeg (to compliment the sweet and earthy profile of our exotic honey) acting in the stead of bitters. Taking a small step further, let us be enterprising enough to dry shake our new original cocktail and put it in a collins glass, instead of a sour, and top with soda. Substitute brown sugar for white in your old fashioned, maybe add your favorite bitters (black mission fig!), and presto-chango, you are the architect of your very own original cocktail!  

Understanding and appreciating the classics while applying both modern technique and flavors to create sprightly cocktails is a big part of the joy I have every day behind the bar!

Dustin Newsome, Head Barman, Seven Grand DTLA

What We’re Reading: American Single-Malt Whiskeys Serve Notice, Swedish Punsch, Ohio’s Booze Bond, American Single Malts, San Diego’s North Park, Bartenders Are Doing More Than Taking Orders

January 22nd, 2013 — 4:29pm


Food, art and a hipster vibe in San Diego’s North Park, 1/13/2013 – Los Angeles Times
It’s edgy, it’s cool — and it’s official: San Diego’s North Park made Forbes’ list of America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods in September, joining such spots as L.A.’s Silver Lake and San Francisco’s Mission District. North Park has all the ingredients for the cool school: It’s culturally diverse and has art galleries, boutiques, trendy bars with handcrafted cocktails and local brews, and foodie-approved eateries. Read more!

Bartenders Are Doing More Than Taking Orders, 1/22/2013 – New York Times

Around the neck of every bottle from the fledgling spirits outfit the 86 Co. — the gin, the vodka, the tequila, the rum — is a small glass ridge. To the untrained eye, it looks like a packaging flourish. It is not. Read more!


American Single-Malt Whiskeys Serve Notice, 1/15/2013 – New York Times
a single-malt whiskey from the Balcones Distillery in Waco bested nine others, including storied Scottish names like the Balvenie and the Macallan, in a blind panel of British spirits experts.

It was the first time an American whiskey won the Best in Glass, a five-year-old competition to find the best whiskey released in a given year. Balcones, said Neil Ridley, one of the organizers, is everything you’d expect from a young American: brash, robust and full of flavor. “It was like putting a New World wine against an Old World chateau,” he said. This wasn’t supposed to happen. American whiskey is all about corn and rye; malted barley, the primary grain in the Scotch variety, traditionally plays a minor role in bourbon recipes. And single malts have long been considered an exclusive province of Scotland. But suddenly, American malted whiskeys — most of them single malts — are popping up, some to loud acclaim. “There’s been a wave this year,” said Sean Josephs, a co-owner of Char No. 4, a restaurant in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, that features a bar flush with domestic and imported whiskeys. Read more!


Swedish Punsch: Kronan Brings It Back From The Brink, 1/14/2013 – Huffington Post
By now, you’re probably familiar with how excitable we become when we discover a liqueur or spirit we’ve never tried before. That’s just what happened the other day when we walked into our local wine shop and sampled a bit of Kronan Swedish Punsch. No, that is not a typo, do not adjust your screen — we’re talking “punsch,” not “punch.” Swedish punsch was a popular ingredient in cocktails in America until Prohibition, after which it just kind of disappeared. But thanks to Kronan, it’s back. A sugarcane-based spirit, Swedish punsch also contains rum, sugar and spices. Read more!

Ohio’s Booze-backed Bond Deal Could Be Trend Setter, 1/18/2013 – Forbes
In what could be one of the largest mixes of taxable and tax-exempt bond deals of its kind, Ohio officials are moving forward with a roughly $1.5 billion offering that will be secured with profits from the sale of liquor. The deal has been mired in controversy since it was concocted years ago. However, one thing that potential bond buyers may not have to worry about is the bonds going into default. This week, the state’s liquor control division announced that state liquor sales set a record last year. Given the rate of consumption of liquor in the Buckeye State, I believe there is little reason to think that the strong sale of beverages containing it (or on the rock pours) in the state won’t continue in future years, providing a more than adequate revenue stream to back the bonds. Read more!


American Single Malts, 1/14/2013 – Liquor.com
While America is, of course, famous for its bourbon and rye, another type of domestic whiskey is getting popular: single malt. Though the term is usually associated with Scotch, an increasing number of craft distillers across the US are creating unique versions of the spirit. Here are a few to look out for: ST. GEORGE SINGLE MALT WHISKEY ($70), UPRISING AMERICAN WHISKEY ($42), HUDSON SINGLE MALT WHISKEY ($45 FOR 375 ML), CORSAIR TRIPLE SMOKE ($45), WASMUND’S SINGLE MALT WHISKY ($37). Read more!

Music Monday: Casey’s Jameson Stage Featured Bands of 2012!

January 21st, 2013 — 1:19pm

It was quite a year for Casey’s. I have handpicked some amazing bands who provided the soundtrack to Friday and Saturday nights at one of the best intimate music venues in Downtown LA. These are only a few who gave it their all on the Jameson stage. 213 thanks all the bands who bashed it out in 2012 and we hope you enjoyed the music as much as we did. Stay tuned for more great music and onward to 2013!

Dave Freeman – Music Director for 213

1) “SCARED COYOTE” BY P L a N E T S
www.planetstheband.com

2) “SHARKS” BY LA FONT
www.lafontband.com

3) “WILD WITCH” BY RESTAVRANT
www.restavrant.com

4) “STADIUM WAY” BY MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY
www.ericolafstiner.com

5) “GYSPY HEART” BY DESTINY O’DEMPSEY
www.facebook.com/destinyodempsey

6) “GO GIRLS” BY THE HEALTH CLUB
www.facebook.com/thehealthclubmusic.com

7) “STILL ALONE” BY THE MIDDLE INITIALS
www.facebook.com/themiddleinitials

8) “I WANT SOMETHING” BY TORCHES
www.torchesband.com

9) “LONG WAY HOME” BY THE DAVID BROTHERS
www.thedavidbrothers.com

10) “HOLD ON” BY SAD ROBOT
www.mysadrobot.com

11) “PASSING TRAINS” BY SEASONS
www.seasons-band.com

12) “MEDICINE GIRL” BY THE QUIET AMERICANS
www.thejanksmusic.com

13) “RAT RACERS” BY THE JANKS
www.thejanksmusic.com

14) “MEG MCLEAN” BY THE GET DOWN BOYS
www.thegetdownboys.com

15) “BE MY LOVIN’ MAN” BY THE DAMSELLES & THE TC4
www.facebook.com/damselles

16) “I HATE EVERYONE” BY GET SET GO
www.getsetgomusic.com

17) “BABY” BY SALT PETAL
www.saltpetal.com