Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Cocktails at Sotto

Kate Grutman & Julian Cox
Sotto launched a new cocktail menu this week with no fewer than fifteen cocktails.  Julian Cox and Kate Grutman worked overtime to create the list, which is divided into Aromatic and Shaken cocktails.  Grutman, who got her start at The Tar Pit and subsequently worked with Cox at Rivera is the bar manager.  This list gave her the opportunity to collaborate with her mentor on the extensive cocktail menu.  Just as Sotto has an Italian food menu, the cocktail list veers towards Italian cocktails and liqueurs in inspiration.

The Vampire Shark, (above) a tribute to bartenders Julian Wayser and Dave Fernie, is served on the rocks and is made with a sex wax tincture.  The flavor of the aged rum comes through as does some sweetness from the Luxardo morlacco cherry.

The easiest sipper on the menu may be the Holland Daze (above) as it is well balanced, frothy and appealingly garnished with mint.  The name is a play on the main ingredient Genever, as it comes from Holland and the "daze" that many visitors to Amsterdam experience in coffee houses as well as a take on the ever popular Hollandaise sauce.

Il Cavallo Bianco (above) is a crisp and aromatic cocktail that is made with a pineapple and thyme infused Bianco Vermouth.  The name translates as "The White Horse."  Infusions are a Grutman signature, so it is not surprising to see some on the menu.  What was surprising was how well pineapple and thyme went with the rest of the ingredients.  This is a subtle cocktail that should appeal to fans of a classic gin martini.

The Bicycle Thief

The Dude Abides #2 (above) is made with double barrel aged rum, double cream and espresso among other ingredients.  The coffee flavor predominates and it is frothy like an egg cream.

The 5th Amendment is a smooth and boozy Bourbon, wine and Ramazzotti based cocktail that seems designed to lure in LushAngeles, perhaps the #1 fan of Ramazzotti in Los Angeles.

If you get one snack on their menu, I recommend the chickpea fritters as they are light, airy, and have just enough cheese.  A squirt of lemon and you are in business as these addictive snacks will seem to disappear from your plate with alarming speed.

Sotto Cocktail Menu:


Il Cavallo Bianco
Reposado tequila, pineapple.thyme infused Bianco Vermouth, Cocchi Americano, grapefruit peel

The Bicycle Thief
Scotch, Holland Gin, Italian Vermouth, West Indian orange bitters

American Trilogy
Rye whiskey, Applejack, brown sugar cube, orange bitters, flamed orange

Vampire Shark (Tribute to Wayser & Fernie)
5 year aged run, Luxardo Morlacco Cherry, Mr. Zoggs sex wax tincture

The 5th Amendment
Bourbon, Barolo Chinato, Ramazzotti, Angostura bitters, orange essence, cherry

Cornwall Negroni
English Gin, Campari, Punt e Mes, Carpano Antica, burnt orange

Life Is Beautiful
Dry Vermouth, Cocchi Americano, Benedictine, Absinthe, lemon twist


Amaro Daquiri: Fall Redux
Rhum, fresh lime, Averna, pimento dram

Grappa Don't Preach
Vodka, Grappa, fresh strawberry and nectarine, lemon, Aperol, Fresno chili tincture

Dem Apples
Bourbon, fresh pressed apple, Clear Creek pear eau de vie, fresh lemon, cassia-infused honey, dehydrated apple chip

Holland Daze
Genever, fresh lemon, pistachio orgeat, maraschino sambuca bitters

Paloma Italiano
Blanco Tequila, fresh grapefruit, Campari, agave nectar, San Pellegrino Aranciata, salt

The Dude Abides #2
Double Barrel Aged Rum, Cynar, double cream, espresso, Bassano bitters, egg yolk

Use Your Illusion
Rye whiskey, Amaro Nonnino, fresh lime, Velvet Falernum, grapefruit essence, Peychaud's bitters

Smart and Fennel
London Dry Gin, fresh lemon, housemade bitter orange marmalade, fennel-scented egg, fennel frond

Sotto: 9575 West Pico Blvd, West LA.  Phone: (310) 277-0210.  Website:

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