LA Bartenders Unite!
So, finally, something that I’ve been hoping to see come to fruition is a reality.
I started The Liquid Muse Cocktail Club’s Cocktail of the Week, last summer. I highlighted a cocktail from a different LA restaurant in each mailing. (Its currently called The Liquid Muse Mixology Museletter because I just can't do it once a week. Its more-or-less monthly. Sign up for it here.) I was hoping that by highlighting the few quality cocktails I could scrounge up in this town that Angelenos would take note, then seek out and demand better drinks.
Then something wonderful happened. I met some fantastic LA-based bartenders at Tales of the Cocktail, last year, who felt the same way I did. Why are cities like San Fran and NYC (not to mention Seattle, Chicago, Boston and DC) respected for their fine drinks – while LA lags behind as land of the “vodka redbull” or even less appetizing, “Skinny Bitch (rum and diet coke)?” Especially when there are some talented and creative bartenders out here, with a passion for “the craft of the cocktail.” (to reference the grand Dale DeGroff)
Marcos Tello recently launched The Sporting Life (with a little help from his friend and business partner Damian Windsor ... who apparently loves Partida, judging by this photo...). It’s a Los Angeles-based bartender club, of sorts. And, cocktail bloggers are included. (We are all cocktail geeks together, after all…)
The first meeting comprised about 10 people and Joe Keeper (of Bar Keeper fame) lent the cozy back patio behind his store. Marcos sprung for the booze himself, and greeted everyone with sparkling cocktails.
The second meeting was this past weekend at Mozza – a great score considering it’s a tough place to get a reservation to PAY to drink there. This time, the fellas brought on a liquor sponsor. (Hello… if anyone can actually get a liquor sponsor it’s those of us who work with, sell and create new cocktails with their products!)
And – it was a good one! I’ve been a fan of Partida Tequila since I first blogged about it back in the summer of 2006. One of my favorites – and owned by a woman. How much more cool does it get?
The boys whipped up some awesome drinks on Sunday. One with Campari. One with cucumber foam. And, another sort of Tequila Old fashioned. It was the perfect way to kick off a Sunday afternoon, to be sure.
This time the crowd was about double what it was last time, and we had a surprise guest. Jacques Bezuidenhout who reps Partida came down from San Fran with his girlfriend, for the meeting. (Who says No-Cal and So-Cal don’t get along?)
Also in attendance were four cocktail bloggers – including me. Chuck Taggart from Gumbo Pages, Ted Haigh from Dr. Cocktail and Marleigh Riggins from Sloshed were all in one corner together. (Elitist snobs.) Just kidding. I was joyful to be in the real live company of other people who sit in front of a computer blathering on about cocktails for little to no pay. Just for the pure love of it. (Crazy people stick together, ya know!) And, Ted gave a presentation on bitters.
The bartenders came from all sorts of respected hot spots around town: Seven Grand, Doheny, Comme Ca, Bar Marmont, Villa, El Carmen, Fatfish – and more I’m surely forgetting right now (sorry guys).
And, of course, our host Chris Ojeda, the barman at Mozza, gave us a fascinating rundown of the incredible collection of Amaro behind Mozza’s bar. It’s got to be the biggest collection of Amaro in LA. Most bottles have never been opened. The bar menu features several drinks made with Amaro, which is ridiculously cool. Try the Montenegro Fizz, Meletti Smash or The Bitter End to see what I’m talking about…
In the coming weeks and months you will be seeing these talented folks featured here on The Liquid Muse Blog and in The Bartender Diaries. After all, birds of a feather drink together! I raise a glass to Marcos for getting this underway. And, here’s to The Sporting Life!