Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cocktails at the Eveleigh: Old Man Winter Warms You Up

The Eveleigh, a new restaurant and bar, sits quietly on Sunset Blvd nestled behind shrubbery, an oasis from the hectic boulevard outside.  Inside, Dave Kupchinsky manages the bar, creating a welcoming atmosphere and creating new cocktails and tweaking the classics, as his style continues to evolve.  He most recently managed the bar program at The Tar Pit and at The Eveleigh it is evident that he feels more at home as his cocktails are more confident and he is more relaxed.

Blood & Smoke
I was recently invited to sample some of the cocktails. I was joined at the bar by the legendary Yolanda Evans, a New Orleans native known to bartenders from Los Angeles to Paris as fan of all things spiritous. The first cocktail we tried was the Blood and Smoke (above) made with Mezcal, Serrano pepper, blood orange, cherry Heering, sweet vermouth and mesquite smoke. In this take on the classic Blood and Sand, the smokiness of the mezcal and the mesquite smoke was tempered by the rich blood orange juice.

Old Testament
The Old Testament, made with Noah's Mill Bourbon, nutmeg-bay leaf simple syrup and Forbidden bitters did not last long in my glass.  The simple syrup was infused with both the nutmeg and bay leaf.  Kupchinsky has been working on creating more infusions and the Old Testament is typical of the investment he has been putting into the bar program.  This cocktail is delicious on a Biblical scale.

The Eveleigh
The signature Eveleigh cocktail (above) is made with Hendrick's Gin, rose and lavendar rooibos tea, vermouth blanc, and Barolo Chinato.  This is a gin drink for brown spirits drinkers.  Attractively garnished with the flower but don't let that deceive you as the power of the digestive Barolo Chinato gives the cocktail a lot of backbone.

The Sad Bastard (below) is made with bourbon, gin, ginger, clove, lime juice and bitters, shaken and garnished with candied ginger.  I only got a quick sip of it, as my drinking companion enjoyed it so thoroughly.

The Sad Bastard

The Old Man Winter is named for the barman himself and as is described as best served with lukewarm by a grumpy bartender.  This is not a drink to begin the evening with as it will blow your palate.  No shrinking violet, the Old Man Winter includes Scotch, Campari, Benedictine, Fernet and heavy angostura.  This drink served neat in an old fashioned glass packs a wallop.  Boozy and stirred, this drink was created with imbibers like LushAngeles in mind.  I am not sure what Kupchinsky is trying to say about himself with this cocktail except "beware," as he has got a lot going on.

Old Man Winter
The Lucky Louis (below) is a produce driven drink that was a refreshing counterpoint to the Old Man Winter.  It is made with Rhum Agricole, kumquats, star anise, and lime juice.  This shaken cocktail served on the rocks has the kumquats floating in it, which gives the drink a festive look.  It is easy to drink and the combination of citrus and spices was enjoyable.

Lucky Louis

The cocktails are fairly priced at $12 (note that the Old Testament is $16), which can be a deal in the neighborhood, where many cocktails are suboptimal and overpriced.  The bar itself is comfortable and large and dominates the inside room.  Even when the room was busy, Kupchinsky and his team were able to get the cocktails flowing quickly; speed without sacrificing quality.

The menu looked attractive but as I had already eaten, I only tried one item, the chicken liver parfait with orange muscat jelly, pickles and toasts.  The chicken liver was delicious and creamy, easily spreading on the toasts.  The one drawback to this dish is that Eveleigh should serve it with more toasts.  More were brought when asked, but there seems to be an epidemic in Lo Angeles of serving dishes like steak tartare or pate with not enough toasts.  Toast is easy and cheap, please serve more.

So mosey on down Sunset Blvd, get an Old Testament and you might get lucky, or at least a Lucky Louis.  Worst case is you have some excellent cocktails and perhaps a snack to wash them down.  In any case you'll be sure to see the grumpy bartender, pouring his cold dark heart into these wonderful drinks.

The Eveleigh: 8752 West Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood.  Phone: (424) 239-1630. Website:

1 comment:

  1. that guy is an a-hole. if you're in the biz, you're all good. if you a reg guy, forget it. rude service there! was in April evening, thursday night.