Sunday, September 9, 2012

Savor the Midsummer Cocktails and Patio at Big Bar (Los Feliz)

It's September but it still sure is warm. That means you still have time to head over to the Big Bar in Los Feliz for their midsummer cocktails, designed to be the perfect patio drinks! Big Bar is part of the Alcove Cafe and Bakery and yes, they have a beautiful patio that you can sip them in, although we enjoy sitting at the bar watching Dan Long and his bartenders do their work.

A few weeks ago I made my first visit to Big Bar and tasted through the midsummer cocktail menu. Here are some highlights from the menu:

I loved the Gin and Tonic cocktail.
This was obviously not your usual gin and tonic, as you can see it's served up. The cocktail was made with Beefeater gin, quinquina, lime, bergamot, kaffir lime spray. the quinquina gave it that "tonic" flavor. You can also smell the kaffir lime as he is serving it to you.

The next one may be my favorite find that night. I can sip this one all night!
The Picon Punch is made with Amaro Montenegro, Pierre Ferrand 1840, lemon, grenadine, orange bitters
The Picon Punch is a traditional Basque after dinner drink. Traditionally it is made with Picon but that's not available in its original form anymore so they tried to find a substitute with similar flavors. The base is Amaro so it had strong herbal flavors, but if you like that flavor profile you will love this. I thought it was really perfect to calm your tummy after dinner.

Of course, you have to try a cocktail named Most Interesting Cocktail in the World, made with Vida mezcal, lime, cinnamon syrup, Miracle Mile chocolate-chili bitters, cayenne peppers

Being Indonesian, the cocktail name that first caught my eye was the Belanda cocktail.
"Belanda" means Netherlands in Indonesian, inspired by its ingredient list of barrel-aged Bols Genever, apricot, East India sherry, and "improved bitters" (equal parts Angostura, Maraschino, 1/2 part absinthe). It had a very interesting and unique flavor with plenty of herbal notes.

Dan explained that this was a "scaffa" style cocktail, which is combined and served at room temperature. He realized he liked the flavor better as it sat and warmed.

Next is Chaton de Mer: Sailor Jerry, St Germain, lemon, grapefruit, bubbles Sal Paradise: Oro Torontel pisco, grapefruit, lime, honey, cherry bitters
This was the perfect patio sipper. Very nice summer drink, the grapefruit made it not too sweet but refreshing.

We ended with the stronger drinks like La Rosita with Partida reposado tequila, Campari, Dolin dry vermouth, Carpano Antica. A strong and balanced drink. This was another classic drink that's usually served on the rocks, but he prefers up,

 Jet Stream: Zaya rum, El Dorado 12yr, Novo Fogo, Campari, LGH fuel (lime, grapefruit, honey)
The last was a Manhattan variation, St. Anne's Helper made with Eagle Rare 10yr, Carpano Antica, Amaro Meletti.

They brought out some food from Alcove so that we weren't drinking on empty stomachs. My favorite bite was the Carnitas sliders, cooked a full day in milk and topped with sauteed jalapeno and guacamole

Their Tempeh Firecracker (buffalo sauce marinated tempeh) was creamy, the texture was more like cheese than the tempeh I'm familiar with

 Fish and sticks: tilapia, sweet potato fries, chipotle ketchup
 They also have fun desserts like these "T&A Cookies" and a giant red velvet cake.
I don't know what took me so long to visit Big Bar. The midsummer cocktail menu was stellar and you should definitely go there and sip on these excellent drinks while it's still warm out!

Big Bar
1929 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-0100
Alcove Cafe & Bakery/Big Bar on Urbanspoon


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