Showing posts with label buvare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buvare. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Buvare: Trader Sam's

How is it that I still haven't written about Trader Sam's?? No stranger to drinking at Disney Parks, when this Enchanted Tiki Room —that's actually a full-functioning tiki bar— opened poolside at the Disneyland Hotel last year one boy's dream literally came true. (Hint: Mine.)

Repeat visits have proven the drink menu, nosh offerings, interactive space, and jubilant staff exceedingly strong. And tonight, for Disneyland's One More Day 24 hour Leap Year event, I plan to kick off my evening in barkeep Rhonda's able hands. Another HippopotoMai Tai, please!

My favorite on the list, the Shrunken Zombie Head is a potent potable of reserve and aged rums, tropical juices, Falernum, and cinnamon. It packs a pleasant punch, and leads to conversation with the Disneyphiles next to you at the bar (who you will probably end up on Tower of Terror with an hour later).

For snacking, the tasty and reasonably-priced appetizers at Trader Sam's are some of the best values in Disneyland. I always order the panko-crusted Chinese long beans with sriracha mayonnaise and Ahi Poke — a wasabi-yuzu-marinated ahi tuna served with avocado, green onion and crispy wontons.

Rhonda summons the gods

If you want to amp it up for round two, I suggest the Uh Oa!, a tiki god-sized grail of light and dark rums, orange, passion fruit, guava, and grapefruit juices, Falernum, cinnamon, and fresh squeezed lime juice. Recommended for two or more guests, this cocktail event includes a ritual... flashing lights, tambourines, chanting, volcanic eruptions, and pyrotechnics. Yes, this is serious, folks.

Whether you crave a respite from the sun and crowds, stiff drink, or simply a cultural bear hug, on behalf of adult Disney and tiki fans everywhere, I thank you Trader Sam's. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Trader Sam's
Disneyland Hotel
1150 Magic Way, Anaheim, CA 92802; 714.778.6600

Friday, June 10, 2011

Buvare: Papa Pomelo Daiquiri

One of the many reasons for my blogger slack lately (excuses, excuses) is that I just moved house. This is something I am very ecstatic about. I have a yard! I have an outdoor dining table! I have sexy lounge chairs and a babbling fountain! Most importantly I have somewhere to ENTERTAIN.

The other night while recording our podcast, the Table Set - which is centered around the umbrella topic of entertaining, Andy, Greg and I were discussing house warming parties in particular, and the importance of incorporating a sense of place. One of the most noticeable aspects of my new yard is the towering citrus tree dangling with human head-sized yellow fruits: Pomelos.
The size of a soccer ball and heavy as a mid-size dog, the greenish-yellow giant comes to us from Eastern Asia. With a dense foamy pith up to 2 inches thick, the pomelo is deceiving in size, but still packs a good amount of tart juicy pulp inside. The flavor is somewhere between a lemon and yellow grapefruit, and dropping bombs on my patio at least once a day, my new go-to citrus for cooking and cocktails.
Naturally for my intimate housewarming gathering I decided to employ the fruit (as did many guests, spearing take aways from the tree on their way out). I peeled back the pith (the remnants a meme of their own: "cat wigs") and squeezed about a quart of tangy juice. Now what?
I took a wise cue from one of my Table Set co-hosts Greg to try it as a Papa Hemingway Daiquiri - A sexy twist on the rum/lime classic made by Ernest himself, incorporating grapefruit and marischino liqueur. With a few tweaks of my own, the Papa Pomelo was born. Originally a punch bowl affair, below is an abbreviated single cocktail version.

Papa Pomelo Daiquiri Punch

2 oz white rum
1/2 oz marischino liqueur
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 oz fresh-squeezed pomelo juice
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
Dash of Fee's rhubarb bitters
Drop of orange flower water

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over cracked ice. Shake hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pomelo peel.

Now watch your head.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Buvare: Bar Keeper Gets Serious

After seventeen months of bureaucratic poppycock, THE high brow bar accoutrement shoppe to end all high brow bar accoutrement shoppes Bar Keeper finally got its wish - to sell the rare small batch high brow booze that was always meant to fill its pristine glassware collection.
Still being un-boxed and shelved on the library wall, hard to find Rye whiskeys rub elbows with hipster gin, top shelf vermouth, Del Maguey single-village mezcals, a fetishist's line of absinthe, exotics like Batavia Arrack, and enough amari to fuel a downtown speakeasy. Weak at the knees, I limited myself to two bottles of essential Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry (dry and rouge; $14) and pinched myself to put back the Rothman Crème de Violette, Bols Genever, and Old Overholt Rye.
And as if Bar Keeper didn't already carry the most devastatingly advanced selection of aromatic bitters, Joe Keeper's added to his arsenal some kingpin selections from Bar Code and Miracle Mile Bitters Co. (killer spicy gingerbread bitters!). Curious? All bitters are available to sample in the store.
And just in time for the holidays, starting November the store will be selling holiday gift boxes complete with recipes, necessary liquors, bitters, tools and glassware needed to make a given drink. Give an absinthe starter kit, Perfect Manhattan set, or The Varnish in a box to that special someone this year.

3910 W. Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake 90029; 323.669.1675

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buvare: NOLA Hotel Bars

There's something terribly civilized about sipping a cocktail in a classy hotel lounge to me. But finding one that isn't overly stuffy or embarrassingly dated can take a little bit of work. Effortlessly cool New Orleans however has a handful of winners in this department. One of which was the site of our Friday nightcap, the Swizzle Stick Bar at Café Adelaide, in the Loews New Orleans Hotel. The Arts District hotel lobby bar was recommended to me by Harriet Bell (publisher; Emeril's cookbook maestro) as THE place in NOLA to have a Sazerac... or two. And we did!
The Sazerac, official cocktail of New Orleans

From the Brennan family (behind NOLA's celebrated Commander’s Palace), Café Adelaide is an homage to the family's Aunt Adelaide, who "personified the avant-garde cocktail culture of the late 1950s and 1960s, and represents the joie de vivre of all that is New Orleans." Despite the more contemporary digs, the timeless spirit of the city comes through the cocktails and stellar service.
The most famous hotel bar in town is easily the Carousel Bar in New Orleans' historic Hotel Monteleone. Built in 1886, the grandiose Monteleone on Royal Street was the first (and to this day, only) high-rise building in the interior French Quarter. The off-lobby bar, originally opened as the Swan Room, was transformed in 1949 with the installation of a 25-seat circular bar turning on 2,000 large steel rollers, powered by a 1/4-horsepower motor, rotating one revolution every 15 minutes.
The Carousel Bar in 1968

The Carousel was renovated in 1992 with the addition of a new circus-like top and fiber optics in the ceiling to create the appearance of stars in the night sky (a shooting star can occasionally be seen crossing the room).
The Carousel Bar is known for more than its signature ambiance, a bevy of signature cocktails have too achieved notoriety including The Goody and The Vieux Carré Cocktail (above). Last year in the spirit of the bar's 60th anniversary, the hotel hopelessly searched for the lost recipe for The Monteleone, a cocktail served in the bar up until the 1960’s. Luckily NOLA-native cocktailian Chuck Taggart stepped in to their aid, re-imagining a cocktail in honor of the institution.

Vieux Carré Cocktail
1 ounce rye whiskey
1 ounce Cognac
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 teaspoon Bénédictine D.O.M.
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Mix all ingredients in a double Old Fashioned glass over ice; stir.

The Monteleone Cocktail
by Chuck Taggart
1 ounce Sazerac Rye (6 year old)
1 ounce Bols Genever
1 ounce Dolin Vermouth Blanc
1/2 ounce Averna
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6

Combine with ice in a mixing glass and stir for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass (serve up). Garnish with an orange peel twist.
As the bar slowly turned and I savored my nectarous Vieux Carré -like most places in New Orleans- the ghosts started to come out. I imagined the faces across from me that of past patrons Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner, chatting over the tunes of Liberace (the first person to play the piano that still resides in the bar).
I may not have been able to actually see it, but I could taste it.

The Swizzle Stick Bar
Loews New Orleans Hotel
300 Poydras St. New Orleans, LA; 504.595.3305

The Carousel Bar
Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St. New Orleans, LA; 504.523.3341

Friday, April 30, 2010

Buvare: First & Hope

A weekend morning at Sunset Junction is never complete without a good haunt at Barkeeper - possibly my favorite retail shop in the city. A couple of weeks ago between flirts with the bitters and artisan cocktail syrup selections (by way of the patient and always enthusiastic sales clerks), a flier on the counter caught my eye. The following night Iron Bar Chef Tony Abou-Ganim was having a cocktail book launch at the new First & Hope Downtown Supper Club, featuring visiting bartenders from around the country - and I had already decided I was most definitely going to attend.
A burst of life tucked back in the corner of a sleepy business complex a block from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Fist & Hope is an unexpected high class joint. A flight of regally dressed ladies greeted us inside the glass doors, an oblong divan, draping chandelier and enomatic wine system pulled our attention toward the bar side. A gorgeous gleaming wood bar, curving walls, deco ceiling tiles, and cool-toned lighting effortlessly created a chic mystique.
The uniforms at First & Hope are simply impossible to ignore, perfectly tailored satin grey numbers on the ladies and fitted white cocktail coats on the men, evoking a vintage elegance a la Mad Men - appropos as we found out costume designer Janie Bryant of Mad Men designed the meticulously fitted get ups.
The evening's premiere event Red Rover, Red Rover got its name when cocktail consultant for First & Hope's beverage program Aidan Demarest decided to bring over an array of visiting mixologists for the debut: Erick Castro of The Rickhouse in San Francisco, Misty Kalkofen of Drink in Boston, John Lermayer of the Delano Hotel in Miami, and Juan Sevilla of LA’s Soho House.
This dream team delivered an INSANELY good cocktail menu! We decided to go down the list and try everybody's specialties, two by two. First and possibly a favorite was Erick Castro's sophisticated Statesman (above), an herbaceous dry cocktail differentiated from a standard Gin martini by a whisper of Rothman & Winter Pear, Chartreuse, and orange bitters. THE most refreshing and elegant drink, probably ever. Castro's flipside offering Little Monster's Exotic Punch packed a spicy Caribbean wallop, served from a punch bowl at the end of the bar. The wicked concoction blended Clement VSOP Rum, Dry Sack Oloroso 15 yr Sherry, Allspice Dram, fresh lime, cane sugar, grated nutmeg, and sparkling water.
At our corner of the bar, Boston's charming Misty Kalkofen busted some serious behind, shaking and stirring cocktails two at a time all night with a hearty laugh. We tried her menu offerings next, the St. Pierre (Clement Premiere Canne Rum, Green Chartreuse, fresh lemon and white grapefruit juices) was a pleasant beachfront sipper, while the smart and lusty La Revelacion was just that - a revelation. The ingenious potion of Spanish Brandy, Dry Sack, Sherry, Rhum Clement Creole Shrub, and absinthe. Sounds plain stiff, but it was remarkably smooth and palatable.
We moved next into the back room, a Guys and Dolls-esque jazz club aptly called the Fedora. A gleaming grand piano held court over the small club while a second bar was stirring cocktails fervently.
We ordered a pair of Juan Sevilla's spirited libations seated at our corner booth, enjoying the music and vibe. Summer in Martinique was sweet and hot, with Rhum Clement, Habanero-infused agave nectar, Aperol, and fresh lemon. Smokin' Redcoat was a sophisticated layering of Martin Miller's Gin, Carpano Antica Formula and Mescal. Wowza!
Out of nowhere, a white coat appeared with a tray and the best line of the night "14 karat gold dusted bacon fudge??" Why yes, of  course!
The other most amusing among the hors d'oeuvres were the cotton candy style air-puffed "Jolly Ranchers". Yes, they tasted exactly like those fruity sweet morsels from our childhood.
After some more noshing and sloshing, we moved on from the Fedora to the book signing area. Tony was deep in flirtatious conversation with a semi-circle of fans, while co-writer Mary Elizabeth Faulkner smiled sweetly, quietly signing alongside. While Tony didn't look up when signing my book and misspelled my name, Mary Elizabeth was engaging and even pointed me in the direction of some killer recipes that seemed up my alley. We thanked her for being such a sugar, and with one final lap to thank the bartenders, decided to call it a night.
Once outside again we were back in the unassuming quiet corner of downtown. The Walt Disney Concert Hall and Ahmanson Theatre glimmered beyond the fountain as we smiled at our fortune for such a lovely and unexpected night.
First & Hope Downtown Supper Club
710 W First St. Downtown LA; 213.617.8555
First & Hope on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Buvare: 'Twas the Punch Before Christmas

Every once in a while, something will strike such a perfect chord with me that it's as if The Universe just WANTS me to be happy. And that's how I felt when I saw this flier for Rum Dood, Barkeeper, and Kraken Rum's 'Twas the Punch Before Christmas contest at Malo Cantina. It was just an equation for success! A great drinkin' blog, a great bar shop, my favorite dark rum I hadn't had yet, all under one roof at one of my local haunts. Sign me up!
For the contest, Rum Dood had posted the rules, to concoct an original recipe containing citrus, spice, spirits, sugar, and some sort of “weak.” The six selected finalists were mixing up large batches for this event at Malo. And I had a ticket.

It was a particularly blustery night when two of my friends and I huddled together, walking through the rain-tinged wind to Malo. Once in the toasty upstairs, it felt as if the holidays were finally upon us; a warm and lively scene highlighted by laughter and the sound of pouring punch.We didn't really waste any time and gravitated first to the station of Zach Patterson from STK. He was serving up a concoction titled "Port of Portland Punch", an iceberg covered with fresh mint and fresher-than-fresh lime zest (he was zesting as we approached) had our mouths watering before we had a glass. This punch was a velvet smooth mixture of Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Benedictine, Green tea, Lemon, Gum syrup & Tahitian Vanilla/Citrus blend, topped with Prosecco. My palate was excited - and this was only stop #1?? Zach's punch literally made me swoon, the magical blend of Tahitian vanilla and lime mingling like creamy key lime custard, but finishing clean and spicy. Living in LA by way of Portland, OR, naturally we began an instant rapport over the city, the next punch-man down the line chiming in, Mr. Blair Reynolds of Portland tiki culture fame. We slid down to his station and he poured us another slam dunk.Blair (of called his recipe "Blackheart Punch," a blend of Cruzan Black Strap Rum (my favorite!), Cruzan Amber Rum, Iced black tea, Cinnamon syrup, Lemon & lime juice. Another popper on the tongue, the cinnamon syrup a superb bond for all of the flavors. I could have stayed in this room all night, back and forth between these two bowls, but then what if they only got better?!In the next room, Jason Schiffer (from 320 Main in Seal Beach) was topping off his gorgeous "Tonjok Punch" with some bubbly. Already promising, we held out a glass. The curious contents included Bols Genever, Batavia Arrack, Root, Depaz Cane syrup, Simple syrup, Lemon juice, Peychaud's bitters, topped with Chandon Brut. While I was intrigued and impressed with the creativity, the overall effect was quite stiff (as in alchoholic!) and not quite as refined flavorwise as I had hoped for. This was also when we realized we were a wee bit tipsy and visited the snack table!Next we hit Chuck Taggart's "Ponche Relejante" ("Relaxing Punch"). Boy, this was even more intense! Alright, check this out: Gran Centenario Rosangel tequila, Del Maguey Minero Mezcal, fino sherry, Licor 43, Guaycura Liqueur de Damiana, Demerara sugar, Té de 7 Azahares (Mexican “7 Blossoms” tea), lemon & lime juice, Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters (get Chuck's recipe here). The smoke of the mezcal hit me first, a splash of kerosene in an otherwise smooth floral mixture. His punch was risky with its flavor profile, and I had to give him props for that! But the drunker I was getting on this school night, could not finish my potent glass.By Chris Bostick's (The Varnish) "Punch You in the Eye Punch," I felt like perhaps someone had (even my photography got... fuzzier). This was based around green tea-infused El Tesoro Silver Tequila, with Scarlet Ibis Rum, Aperol, Benedictine, Cucumber Demerara syrup, Lemon & grapefruit juice, topped with Ting Jamaican soda. As much as I wanted to love this (big Varnish fan here), that pesky Aperol took the flavor away from a drinkable punch realm for me. It was a slow sipper, and the pleasure of punch in my opinion is enjoying its potability whilst the tipsy just creeps up!Lastly, a nice lady was mixing up hot buttered Kraken Rums, which at the time sounded lovely, but after a few sips just didn't seem to be the right proportions. Noticing the full glasses about the perimeter of the room, I could see we were not alone in this impression.
So back to the beginning we went!We revisited with Zach and Blair, "reassessing" their pleasant punches before traipsing down the steps with our punch glasses for a quick taco in the dining room. By the time we made it back upstairs, the winners had already been decided (whoops! We hadn't even gotten to vote yet!). Chuck Taggart won the judge's award, while the people picked Zach Patterson. Both well-deserved!
A festive night in all, I left happy, and more pleasantly plump than a $12 ticket has ever left me before! Can we do this once a month, guys??

Click here for some more holiday party punch recipes!