Monday, March 29, 2010

Rivera's Spring Cocktail launch

On Thursday Rivera's superstar bartender Julian Cox launched his Spring cocktail list of 13 new libations with a special launch night price of $6 each.

The bar and lounge area was packed with cocktail aficionados, bloggers, and fans of Julian's delicious drinks. Recent DonQ cocktail competition champion Kristina Howald (pictured at left), who is usually only behind the bar on Fridays & Saturdays, was there to help with the onslaught.

I got to meet several people in person for the first time including the Amateur Enthusiast and LA/OC Foodie.

I sampled three beverages over the course of the evening in two sessions (had to decamp to the Rooftop Bar @ The Standard for a reunion of another sort in the middle).

Began with the Widow's Kiss - Rye Whiskey, Calvados, Yellow Chartreuse.

Followed up with Sexy Thyme - Gin, Aperol, Orgeat, Golden Raspberries, Thyme

Last drink (round 2) was the Smoked Manhattan - Rye, Amaro Cio Ciaro, Smoked Rosemary, Angostura

My favorite of the cocktails I tried was the Sexy Thyme. Very balanced, not too sweet but easy to drink. I was a bit hesitant to order it as I have had a few unsuccessful cocktails with Aperol, but Sexy Thyme has removed the Aperol jinx from me. I also love the great ice served with this drink.

The smoked manhattan involves lighting the rosemary on fire to smoke it and impart some of the smoky scent to the drink. Enjoyable to watch and it adds another flavor component to the drink without overwhelming it.

The evening was so successful that when I came back for round 2, the bar had run out of several of the fresh ingredients, which I take as a very good sign. Rivera's classics will continue to be available.

Blogger ThirstyinLA has helpfully posted the full list of Spring cocktails here.

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