Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Christening

In honor of the holiday yesterday I decided to finally create this blog as well as give myself a special cocktail treat. More on that, shortly, but first... For those of you who are unaware of the holiday in question, May 13 is commemorated every year by mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts all around the world as it marks the date just over two hundred years ago when the word "cocktail" was first defined (or at least the first definition not lost to the sands of time). That fateful day the world learned that a cocktail is composed of four ingredients: any spirit, water, sugar, and bitters. While the word has since then garnered a much broader semantic range, purists will not refer to any beverage without all four as a cocktail. The vast majority of what is today referred to as a cocktail, while possessing the first three, do not (and should not) contain bitters. There are many types of bitters available for purchase at a variety of stores and websites. The most common is Angostura bitters, which can be found quite easily, even at major grocery stores. It is a necessary ingredient in a proper Martini, Manhattan, and (my personal favorite) the Old-fashioned.

Now that we've discussed the importance of the holiday, let's get to my special treat. Living in L.A., I'm often unable to walk in to a bar and receive a drink worth the $10 I handed the "bartender" waiting to hit it big in acting/writing/(insert some other job that will never happen). I apologize. I have a bit of a distaste for the adulteration of our trade by those who don't want to be practicing it to begin with, but I digress. There are a rare few fantastic watering holes in the area, one in particular which makes mouths water. I'm talking about the ultra-premium, the highly exclusive, The Doheny. That's right, last night, the elite members-only club was graced with the presence of yours truly. To honor the holiday, Vincenzo, the head mixologist gave a short lecture complete with some fantastic drinks, and luckily I was in the intimate crowd of two dozen or so. Any other night, The Doheny would be closed to the likes of me. In fact, to become a member, one has to drop north of two grand for the initiation fee as well as an annual fee, also north of the two grand mark. In short, if you're planning on walking in that door for the first time, you'd better bring $4950 in addition to what you plan on spending on drinks. Did I mention that the drinks generally run in the $20 range? There even exists a house rule declaring the inappropriateness of ordering anything using Red Bull. The rules may seem a little over-the-top, but they serve a certain purpose, and they serve it well. This is one classy joint. Oh, the Doheny also sells drinks. More on that later.

Drink Well.


Chris said...

I'm not a mixed-drinks kind of guy, as you well know. But the sheet upper-classness (if I might invent that word) of that place makes me want to check it out one day. (Perhaps on May 13th?)

Glad you had a good time.

While micro-brews may enjoy widespread legitimacy as quasi-gourmet, the cocktail holds a place akin to wine-snobbery that even the finest breweries do not approach. (Except perhaps in Belgium, with the Trappist brews.)

Mark the Bartender said...

Hopefully, they'll be doing more and more semi-open events to help bring others into the quality cocktail world. Fortunately, the owner has a couple other nice drinking holes which are a little more accessible to us regular folk.

While I don't have an extensive knowledge of expensive wines, you know I'm quite the fan of a quality brew. I hope that most people don't consider me to be a cocktail snob. I'm more than happy to down a Jack and Coke at the local dive bar, so long as the next night I can have a nice Sazerac. Variety is the spice of life.

Chris said...

I *DO* consider you a cocktail snob, but I *DO NOT* think that is a bad thing, really.

Appreciation of the finer things isn't necessarily snobbery, though I'm afraid that those who do not appreciate the finer things would consider it to be so.