Tag: The Varnish

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

Mix This: The Hillside Cocktail with Chris Bostick of The Varnish

November 8th, 2011 — 1:37pm

The Hillside Cocktail

1.5oz  Junipero Gin
.75oz  Amaro Nonino
.75oz  Dolin Dry Vermouth
2-3 dashes Elixir Vegetal de la Grande Chartreuse

Stir all ingredients with hand cracked ice.  Strain into chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon peel.

See how it’s done from the man himself!

Chris Bostick, General Manager, The Varnish

Christina Hendricks is in which 213 bar?

October 25th, 2011 — 2:46pm

Mad Men bombshell Christina Hendricks told Men’s Health magazine that 213′s speakeasy The Varnish is her favorite bar.

“Sexy, sophisticated, quiet enough for intimate conversation,” she explained in the latest edition of Men’s Health.

She also mentioned that her favorite drink is Johnny Walker Black, thanks to her husband Geoffrey Arend.

“I always thought it was sexy when he ordered scotch and I’d take little sips of his drink.”

Tell us in a Facebook comment where you think this photo of Christina was taken and you could win a comp drink at that bar!

Music Monday: Jamie Elman at The Varnish

October 17th, 2011 — 3:14pm

Jamie Elman plays it like it should be played. With style. That’s why Jamie Elman is your master keysman tonight at The Varnish. The music, the drinks, the vibe is all done with style. Elman plays the standards and it mixes perfectly with the cocktails you can only find at The Varnish. Treat yourself tonight to something special that can only be found at the “speakeasy” era bar in Downtown L.A.

Jamie Elman starts at 9:30P.
Seating is limited due to capacity so early arrival is encouraged.
No Cover.

Dave Freeman – Music Director for 213

100 ways to savor the West, featuring The Varnish

September 26th, 2011 — 3:15pm

Worship at a temple of spirits
By Sunset Magazine

Walk through Cole’s sandwich shop to a door at the back, marked only with a picture of a cocktail glass. That’s your entry to The Varnish (213/622-9999), the stylish standard-bearer for L.A.’s cocktail scene. Soft jazz drifts out of the sound system. The lights are low but not crepuscular, so you can still actually see. Bartenders wear vests and rolled-ups shirt-sleeves, a uniform that, somehow, instantly communicates competence. Fresh ingredients are on display—citrus, berries, herbs, and rows of flasks with carefully prepared syrups. The cocktail menu presents just a half-dozen excellent and serious cocktails, and when there’s ice, it’s hand cracked. Or opt for the bartender’s choice—actually more of a bartender-customer collaboration, with your pick of spirits and style—and you’ll learn about parts of the cocktail universe you hadn’t known existed.

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