Monday, July 19, 2010

Red Hot Rover: Sizzling at the Shangri-La in Santa Monica

Red Hot Rover, the latest edition of Aidan Demarest and Marcos Tello's successful series of guest bartender events, brought four talented female bartenders to the penthouse bar at the Shangri-La last Monday to mix drinks in view of the Santa Monica pier. Guest bartenders were Naomi Schimek of First & Hope in Los Angeles, Christy Pope ex Milk and Honey and currently a partner in the New York based cocktail firm Cuff & Buttons, Jennifer Contraveos of the Crafted Cocktail, a Chicago-based beverage consultancy, and Jessica Tanaka from Rickhouse in San Francisco.

Pope (pictured above) created the Lost Horizon cocktail which was Sassafras infused Bacardi 8 Rum touched with Demarara Syrup topped with fresh nutmeg and orange as well as the Angkor Wat, which had Bacardi Coco, lime, serrano chili and cilantro. I enjoyed the spicy Angkor Wat but found the licorice-like sassafras in the Lost Horizon to be too strong for me.

Pictured above is Naomi Schimek's Gin et Verjus which was Oxley Gin with Persian sour grapes and honey syrup. The garnish of the tiny grapes was a great visual touch.

The bar got crowded with many bartenders in attendance as the Monday night scheduling enabled a lot of industry folks to go on their night off. The event went smoothly with short wait times for drinks and it was timed to take advantage of the views from the penthouse patio and windows over Santa Monica Bay, the pier and the beach, particularly at sunset and then as the twinkling lights of the ferris wheel on the pier came on.

This edition of Red Hot Rover was a collaboration with Demarest and Tello's Liquid Assets and Alex Straus, the Cocktail Director for Suite 700 at the Shangri-La. With the first Red Rover in downtown LA, the next in New York during this Manhattan Cocktail Classic, and this edition in Santa Monica, it is a mystery where the next edition of Red Rover will happen once Demarest and Tello return from Tales of the Cocktail. Perhaps at their new project at the Raymond in Pasadena? Only time will tell.

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