It doesn’t get much simpler than 8 dishes and 8 cocktails for $8 each (until 8PM, that is) at Scarpetta, who just launched their brand new happy hour on Mondays through Saturdays. The great part is that the special goes for 4 hours, from 4 until 8 PM.
Of course, this means that you’re pretty much susceptible to get reeled in to their famous spaghetti, but that’s if you don’t get full on these bites, which really hold their value. A jar full of delicious chicken liver pate? Lobster croquettes served with saffron aioli? Mascarpone ravioli and sliders filled with porchetta? All these bites by Freddy Vargas pretty awesome, and vegetarians will love that they can enjoy 4 of the total 8 bar bites – just peep the menu.
There’s something really exciting going on behind the bar at a certain restaurant in Downtown LA. No, it’s not the craftiness of a Michael Shearin, who has since left for a brand ambassador position – but the hardly rookie beginnings of Jaymee Mandeville as dreamer of the newest winter cocktail menu at Drago Centro.
It’s a menu that has really good range, while at the same time having solid representations in each corner. To be honest, there was only one of ten cocktails on the list that I disliked and over a handful that I would easily order for my friends on recommendation of the spirit they preferred or myself based on that day’s mood. There were even more cocktails I was excited about than I shared an indifferent opinion about.
For instance, the Bols Genever-based Rode Duvel lived up to the high expectations I had for it. It’s enhanced with St. Maria Al Monte Amaro, which is a more bitter amaro and goes so well with the Bols and Miracle Mile Sour Cherry bitters. Be sure not to ignore the dried cherry garnish, as your drink only tastes better paired with each bite of the skewer. It was quite the cocktail to reinforce my love of Bols.
For that friend who may shame you by ordering that Cosmopolitan, order him/her a Grimhilda instead. Made with Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy, Parma, Housemade Chipotle Infused Honey and lemon, its sugar rim is actually an asset and not an obstruction to the cocktail (it has just enough). The chipotle honey does enough to help keep its sugary profile intact but interesting, and you may just wow that craving for cranberry out of your friend.
The every man’s fizzy cocktail would have to be Fated Seeds. This is a cocktail that’s sure to convert former gin avoiders. Persimmons in this cocktail were practically pickled and given a sort of vinegared acidity, without which would’ve made the persimmons evaporate. The basil shrub was a nice aromatic note while a soda topping gave it its effervescence.
An unexpected favorite of the night was the Western All’italiana, made with High West Double Rye, Cointreau, St. Elizabeth All Spice Dram, cranberry and oregano infused molasses, and a Gala apple peel garnish. The cocktail really showcases the all spice, cranberry and oregano beautifully. Of course, it goes without saying that I will ever have the double rye in my corner – so while it gets more than its fair shake, I have to stress that all the infused flavors do well to complement.
The Breaking Castagne is Drago’s winter egg nog – only better. The VSOP gives it that warmth and the mezcal just the right amount of smokyness, but the chestnut syrup is, of course, the real, winter-y centerpiece here.
And then there were the drinks that steadfastly held their corner. The Dead Man’s Tale is the menu’s tiki drink and a play on the Fog Cutter – made with Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum, Bombay Dry Gin, Bertagnolli Grappa, Oloroso Sherry, Bietterman’s Amer Nouvelle, St. Vincent’s Orgeat, lemon, orange and Galliano mist. It was delicious, even though tiki drinks aren’t usually my go-to.
The Remedy X holds its own as the ginger lovers’ cocktail. Made with rosemary infused Bushmill’s Blackbush Irish Whiskey, ginger infused agave and lemon – the rosemary gave this drink a nice, floral twist. And of course, it had the essential candied ginger garnish.
The spicy cocktail of the bunch is the silver Screen Quotations, made with 123 Organic Blanco Tequila, housemade thai chili/cinnamon syrup, red bell pepper, mint, lime and saffron salt. The mint is a nice, aromatic twist that gives the whole cocktail a refreshing take.
But if you’re looking for that quintessential, surprise-me hot toddy, look no further than Eve’s Demise, made with Black Grouse Scotch, Belle de Brillet Pear Cognac, housemade hibiscus apple cider (mmm) and maple syrup. The delicious garnish alone deserves its own double take, but I honestly had a hard time putting this cute little jar-encased hot sipper down.
Fortunately, you can taste all of these tonight at the winter menu cocktail launch for $8 each. Bring the gang, since there’s a drink on the menu for everyone. This delicious menu is sure to delight and satiate your craving for that perfect winter cocktail.
Winter cocktail menu tasting was hosted.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
6 PM – Close: $8 each
$12 each all other times
Drago Centro 525 S. Flower Street Los Angeles, CA 90071 213.228.8998
Heads up! It’s that time, again. Time to try out Michael Shearin’s brand new cocktails for $8 a pop (regularly $12). It happens tonight after 5 PM at Drago Centro in Downtown Los Angeles. Here’s a peep at the menu before you go:
Unbridled â€“ Applejack, Green Chartreuse, Lime, Simple Syrup, Mint
The Watcher in the Woods â€“ Gin, Douglas Fir, Lemon Juice, Nocello, Lavender Syrup, Mint Bitters, Nocello Candy
I admit, I was off form when I took the Metro Red Line to Downtown Los Angeles last week to preview the fall cocktail menu at Drago Centro. I forgot my Canon S90 point-and-shoot camera, the device usually responsible for taking the high res shots you’re used to seeing on this blog. But my desire to safely walk in my own neighborhood and use public transportation in LA (yes – I use it) didn’t diminish my own enthusiasm when I got to Drago. (Plus, I think my BlackBerry Torch did a good job, don’t you?)
Michael Shearin and his team put together a really good menu, and there are a few particular cocktails that I would order in a heartbeat. Caroline on Crack (her post) and Daniel of Thirsty In LA (his post) battled traffic to be at Drago and it was worth it, so it’s safe to say that these cocktails carry a bonus when you Metro it in – and to Metro it back out, again. The station is but a couple blocks away.
The Dazed & Confused, which combines Casa Noble Crystal Tequila, Creole Shrub, Cherry Heering, Fresh Rosemary and Angostura, is a cocktail which Michael describes as “combining everything,” much like the inspiration for the cocktail itself. It’s a man’s drink and delicious enough for tequila drinkers. The Eponymous, which combines Appleton VX Rum, Cruzn Blackstrap Rum, Orgeat and Fresh Lime – is even more complex while utilizing rum, and pleasantly less sweet than one would normally expect a rum cocktail to be. In fact, it evolves on your palate and is the drink that keeps on giving. Very nice.
The 5th & Fig is a special drink, because I had actually loved this drink about a year ago – but Michael said they served it for about a week and then on a fluke, figs had suddenly gone out of season. So, it’s back and better than ever, and even earlier this year so hopefully the figs will be here to stay, for at least a little while. The cocktail is a perfect blend of savory and sweet while really highlighting the nuances of the shrub and complementing the flavors well. It’s a nice balance, perhaps for that indecisive moment where you don’t know if you’re in the mood for something sweet or hearty.
The Golden Goose is delightful bourbon drink with a lot of its charm derived from the gooseberry, itself. The Fernet is a really nice touch, which further highlights the earthiness in the bourbon. Just a touch of maple syrup is added, with compliments to Michael for not adding too much, and letting the gooseberry set the stage.
The Greco Roman is a superb Sherry cocktail in my very little experience of Sherry cocktails. If I could ever muster a sherry craving (haven’t had one yet, to date), I could see this cocktail being my foray. Luxardo Morlacco does make it even sweeter but, I admit, perhaps a bit more palatable. The Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, however, brings back in an earthy note. I guess when I make up my mind about sherry, I can have it alone. For now, it’s the Greco Roman.
TheÂ Smitten With Britain, made withÂ Tanqueray Gin, Chives, Lime and Fever Tree Tonic is a beauty as it is an imaginative variation on your usual gin and tonic. The added chives and lime make this cocktail refreshing – as I guess does the visual charm of the martini glass and purple blooms. Don’t spill.
The Smokehouse features – let’s not kid ourselves – the bacon.Â Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch is the liquid centerpiece, here, accented with Clear Creek Cranberry, Apfelkorn, fresh apple, Fee Bros, whiskey barrel bitters and candied bacon. The smoke is thanks to the Laphroaig. I’m pretty glad I didn’t get to taste all the individual ingredients that make up this drink, because otherwise it would have been just too much. But this is your top savory cocktail on the menu – and the candied bacon swirl is alone reason enough to order this wonder. Michael gets away with not letting this one be too sweetÂ on top of the smoky – and the results are delicious.
Don’t forget to order some appetizers while you’re enjoying your cocktail. And there are great bar bites to be had, like a blackÂ truffle-topped funghi calzone. Or order one of Jashmine Corpuz’s delectable sweet bites – her imaginative desserts will have you intrigued.
So get to Drago Centro today: All cocktails are $8 each for the launch. It’s a great day to figure out what your favorite downtown libation is.
All cocktails were hosted.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Fall Cocktail Menu Debut – $8 each today (Normally $12)
Drago Centro 525 S Flower St. Los Angeles, CAâ€Ž 90071 213.228.8998â€Ž
You may be familiar with my previous Hatchimentions, with each rendition featuring a high profile chef from around Los Angeles. The series at Breadbar has upped the ante for May, however, and will now be featuring the best mixologists on a monthly basis for, again, one night only as “Hatchi Mix” debuts on Thursday, May 6th.
The menu will feature cocktails priced at $8 each, made by the featured mixologist of the night. Kicking off the series is Devon Espinoza from Abbot Kinney’s Tasting Kitchen, who offers his â€œVive le Cocktailâ€ concept featuring pre-Prohibition libations – like the Sazerac, which is arguably America’s first cocktail, dating back to pre-Civil War New Orleans.Â Also on the menu: The Martinez (gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur), by the legendary bartender Jerry Thomas in San Franciscoâ€™s Occidental Hotel during the late 1800s; the Manhattan, called the father of the Martinez and the grandmother of the Martini; and The Last Word, a Prohibition-era drink with gin, lime juice, Chartreuse and often with maraschino liqueur.
With a menu like that, it’ll be hard to pass this Hatchi Mix up. But keep on the lookout for future guest mixologists, like Joel Black of the CaÃ±a Rum Bar at The Doheny, highlighting Rum cocktails on June 3, andÂ Julian Cox of Rivera, with a focus on Tequilas on July 1. (Mmm…I hope that includes the Barbacoa.)
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
6 PM – 2 AM
$8 per cocktail
BreadBar Century City 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90067 310.277.3770
Breadbar Century City’s monthly Hatchi series continues in January! The “foodie exhibition” of sorts rotates guest chefs for one-off nights so Angelenos can get a taste of everyone. Thursday, January 28, Hatchi will feature Chef Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica fame. Contemporary Peruvian tapas will be served, and if the glowing concensus about Mo-Chica is any indication, reservations will fill up fast.
True to its title, the night will feature eight dishes running $8 each. And if you’re smart about things, you’ll dine with at least a couple others so you can try everything on the menu. (Apologies ahead of time if I underestimate your capacity, perhaps, to single-handedly handle all eight by yourself.) Six of the eight will be savory, two will be desserts. Peep the “Peru Mucho Gusto” menu below (still under revision, subject to change):
KIWICHA CON LECHE Y ESENCIA DE MAZAMORRA Kiwicha coconut pudding, purple corn essence, mixed nuts
Rarely find yourself in the USC area? Have an unfounded aversion to strip malls or do you simply love quality Peruvian food with a contemporary feel? Make your reservation at Breadbar for Chef Zarate’s turn at Hatchi.
Caroline on Crack and Twitterland have been a-buzz with Drago’s special Thursday. So if you don’t already know, tomorrow their entire Nuovi Classico (new classics) cocktail menu – normally $12 – will be available for $8 per drink. Yesterday (Tuesday), was when the menu debuted. On H.C. of LA-OC-Foodie‘s and my way to a Whiskey Society meeting over at Seven Grand, we decided to stop by Drago for some tastes.
We met Michael Shearin, who was very gracious, knowledgable and will be sure to take care of you when you stop in tomorrow. Despite this being the day the brand new cocktail menu debuted, I was surprised – with the exception of the Fumo e Fuoco, which Michael promises will have more kick to it when he’s done – at how refined the cocktails were. Favorites were definitely the 5th e Fig (above), Pera (right) and the Poizone Magica No. 2 (below).
If I tried the cocktail, notes are includedÂ under its listing:
Api e Rose – Plymouth gin, poli miele, rosemary, honey, lemon juice (pic)
A light, refreshing drink. Good aroma (thank you, Rosemary) and a very casual cocktail.
Arancia meccanica – Sombra mezcal, red bell pepper, cilantro, agave nectar, lime juice, smoked salt (tried a variation not in its final form)
Very good, if what H.C. described as a “girly drink.” It’s girly in every good way, though I do admit being partial to basil.Â It’s refreshing and reminiscent of the ginger spritzers the bars are making nowadays.
5th e Fig (above) – Bertagnolli grappa, fresh fig, orange juice, lemon juice
Loved the grappa – an often passed-over liqueur but gets major nods in this cocktail. It’s not too sweet,Â very full yet light and the garnish itself (a fig slice) is pleasing to your eye as you sip.
Fumo e Fuoco – Dewars scotch, birdseye thai chili, honey, lemon juice (right)
If you dare, you may want to gently affirm to your server you’re no weakling when it comes to spice. This is a good introduction to and twist on scotch with the addition of honey and lemon which cuts its usual brawn and keeps it light…and hopefully spicy.
Oro Bianco – Oxley gin, chamomile syrup, Oro blanco grapefruit
Pera (above)Â – Belle de brillet poire cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice
Love the pear cognac – a unique main ingredient, and subtly sweetened with Cointreau and made light with lemon juice. Delicious! The cinnamon powdered rim in this drink isn’t mentioned on the menu but in my opinion it’s really the finishing touch.
Poizone Magica No. 2 – Death Door’s gin, aperol, martini bianco, lemon juice (right)
A close favorite! Love the white gin, which happens to hail fromÂ a remote part ofÂ Wisconsin. Stubborn vodka drinkers would enjoy this. Poison? Perhaps. Deathly? Definitely! You won’t know just how intoxicated you’re becoming by drinking this potion. Don’t forget the brandied cherry on the bottom – if I catch you, you’ll have ‘splainin to do.