Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hemingway's Lounge: Spring Cocktails

Hemingway's Lounge can be a like an elegant three ring circus, with barman Alex Straus as the ringmaster at the center of it all, making sure the mood is festive and the cocktails are delicious.  Straus invited Daniel of ThirstyinLA and me into the Center Ring to sample his new Spring Cocktails, before the acrobats, lions and clowns arrived.

The Peruvian Sangria is refreshing and a little boozy; the perfect drink for cocktail hour on the patio before dinner.  It is one of the new breed of cocktails that embraces wine as an ingredient; the muddled and whole grapes echoing the flavor note of the Chardonnay.

1.5 oz Pisco
.50 St Germain
.50 oz Simple Syrup
.75 oz Lemon Juice
1.0 oz Chardonnay
7 muddled grapes, plus 3 to garnish
Shaken and served over ice

Peruvian Sangria

The Smoke and Spice is spicy and springy.  Ready to drink; the smoke from the mezcal and the spice from the jalapeño syrup work together to create a cocktail with multidimensional flavors.  The Chartreuse and the lemon juice round out the drink and the bell peppers provide a dramatic visual effect.  This was my favorite of the list; unsurprising as I have a soft spot for spicy cocktails.

1.5 oz. Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
.50 oz. Green Chartreuse
1.0 oz. jalapeño-infused agave syrup
.75 oz. lemon juice
Red and green bell peppers
Shaken and served over ice
Smoke & Spice

Spring Rain is made with Akvinta organic vodka a wheat-based vodka that was new to me and which owns its own wheat fields, something unusual in the industry.  The pineapple and lime juice made this cocktail a citrus celebration.  In addition the flavor of the (unfiltered) cloudy sake comes through.  Spring Rain has a pleasant froth to it and the mint garnish floats on it effortlessly.

1.0 oz. Akvinta organic vodka
1.0 oz. Rock Sake Cloud
1.0 oz. pineapple juice
0.5 oz. lime juice
0.5 oz. simple syrup
Shaken and served in a coupe

Spring Rain

The Hunting Party is the only stirred cocktail on the Spring menu and feels like an Old Fashioned has been taken to the beach.  The predominant ingredient is the scotch whiskey but even small amounts of the Hum can have a large impact on the flavor profile and this drink is still a work in progress as the ratios undergo refinement.

2.0 oz. Benromach Scotch, a speyside whiskey
0.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
.25 oz. Hum, a rum infused with ginger, hibiscus, cardamom and lime
Bar spoon lemon juice
Dash of Orange bitters
Stirred and served over ice in an Old Fashioned glass

Hunting Party
The new cocktails all evoke warm weather with their refreshing tastes.  I think Hemingway himself would have enjoyed them as he surveyed the heat and the bustle of Havana.  Look out for the Smoke & Spice in particular as it packs a wonderful wallop.  Hemingway's can be quiet early in the evening and very busy towards the end of the night, so pick the vibe you want accordingly.

Hemingway's Lounge: 6356 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood.  Phone: (323) 469-0040.  Website:

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