Alcove Café 10-Year Anniversary & Big Bar Summer Menu


Los Feliz stalwart Alcove Café – home to the stellar Big Bar – is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in a big way. From Monday, July 14 to Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Alcove Café presents “10 Days of Alcove,” featuring 10 prizes ranging from “Simple & Sweet” (coffee and cake for two) to a “Drinks On Me” Hero Pass (a round of cocktails for you and three friends) and a “Guest of Honor” night for two at its popular outdoor movie series, Dinner and a Movie.

Alcove is giving away two Grand Prizes: a private cocktail class for six with Big Bar manager, Aaron Alvarez, and a private event for 10 in the Alcove Cottage, featuring dinner, cocktails and dessert. Fellow imbibers, this prize is for you: one lucky winner will be immortalized as a Featured Cocktail. The Big Bar crew will create a cocktail based on your favorite spirit(s), personality and backstory. Best of all, the prizes are being awarded with Golden Tickets, which will be hidden in cocktail napkins, food napkins and of course, Alcove Chocolate bars.

Click here for the full breakdown of prizes. Good luck, friends!


Banaquiri at Big Bar

Banaquiri: aged island rum, banana two ways, and fresh lime juice. | Photo courtesy of Big Bar

Alcove’s anniversary festivities coincide with the launch of the Big Bar Summer Cocktail Menu, the first drink list since Aaron Alvarez took the helm. Big Bar gets into the spirit of the season with drinks like Don’s Treehouse, made with a “secret blend of rums,” lime juice, almond, vanilla, and grapefruit.

Cockney Sparrow at Big Bar

Cockney Sparrow: Beefeater 24, rose tea, lemon, cucumber and champagne. | Photo courtesy of Big Bar

Mo-Chi-Chi at Big Bar

Mo-Chi-Chi: real coconut infusion, pineapple, lime, and amontillado sherry. | Photo courtesy of Big Bar

The Sun King at Big Bar

The Sun King: Kina L’Avion D’Or, gentian, grapefruit, lemon, spritz. | Photo courtesy of Big Bar

Header image courtesy of Big Bar.

Big Bar at Alcove
1929 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA, 90027
(323) 644-0100


2014 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards Finalists Announced

The Top Four Finalists have been announced for the 8th Annual Spirited Awards, taking place on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at the 12th annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Los Angeles finalists include Brooke Arthur (Best American Brand Ambassador), Honeycut (Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar), The Spare Room (Best American Hotel Bar), and Dushan Zaric (Best Bar Mentor). At last year’s ceremony, Boston’s Drink took home the award for World’s Best Cocktail Bar, while six of the remaining top awards were evenly split between two New York bars, The Dead Rabbit and Clover Club.

Honeycut cocktail bar

Cocktail Bar at Honeycut | Photo courtesy of Honeycut, via Facebook

From the Tales of the Cocktail press release:

“Through its annual Spirited Awards®, Tales of the Cocktail® recognizes those that continue to represent the cocktail industry in exciting new spotlights. To embody the ideals in which Tales of the Cocktail® was originally founded, these awards were developed to recognize both national and international honorees across twenty-three categories. Each award recipient will receive an exclusive Riedel Crystal trophy.”

Tales of the Cocktail added a new award category this year: Best Bar Team (American and International). Created to highlight the teamwork that goes into running a successful bar, Best Bar Team recognizes an American and an International team of bartenders, bar backs, and servers that deliver the highest quality cocktail experience. Additionally, the Best Cocktail Writing categories from previous years have been renamed Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer and Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication.

This year, the judging committees were greatly expanded – the American and International teams totaled 140 judges. The American judging committee was chaired by Simon Ford; Jacob Briars oversaw the selection of all International judges; and Dave Wondrich – the James Beard Award-winning writer and five-time Spirited Awards winner – lead the judging team dedicated to the writing awards.

“Today there is so much talent in our industry, and judging these awards is only getting tougher and tougher, which is why we have made these changes. It is important to us that these awards are run with credibility and integrity for both past and future winners,” said Ford.

The American judging committee was divided into three regional judging leaders: Erick Castro chaired the West Coast committee, Jackson Cannon chaired the East Coast committee, and Sean Kenyon chaired the Central USA committee. So Cal-based judges include yours truly, Brooke Arthur, Zahra Bates, Aidan Demarest, Dan Dunn, Trevor Easter, Lindsay Nader, Dave Stolte, and Daniel Warrilow.

Following the largest nomination pool in Spirited Awards history, the Top Ten Finalists were announced in May. For the first time, the Top 4 Finalists were announced live on Google+, hosted by Simon Ford.

The winners will be announced on July 19 at the 2014 Spirited Awards ceremony in New Orleans, featuring a theme inspired by Truman Capote’s legendary 1966 Black and White Ball. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

After the jump, a complete list of the Top Four nominees according to category.

Half Step in Austin, Texas

Half Step


American Bartender of the Year

  • Jeff Bell (New York)
  • Marcovaldo Dionysos (San Francisco)
  • Bobby Heugel (Houston)
  • Sean Kenyon (Denver)

Best American Bar Team – New Category

Best American Brand Ambassador

  • Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)
  • Chris Patino (Pernod Ricard USA Portfolio)
  • Neyah White (Suntory Japanese Whiskies)
  • Angus Winchester (Tanqueray Gin)

Best American Cocktail Bar

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar

Best American Hotel Bar

Best American Restaurant Bar

Best New American Cocktail Bar


International Bartender of the Year

  • Simone Caporale (London)
  • Zdenek Kastanek (Singapore)
  • Hidetsugu Ueno (Tokyo)
  • Tom Walker (London)

Best International Bar Team – New Category

Best International Brand Ambassador

  • David Cordoba (Bacardi)
  • Giuseppe Gallo (Martini)
  • David Piper (Hendrick’s Gin)
  • Claire Smith (Belvedere Vodka)

Best International Cocktail Bar

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar

Best International Hotel Bar

Best International Restaurant Bar

Best New International Cocktail Bar


Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer

  • Toby Cecchini (United States)
  • Paul Clarke (United States)
  • Jeffrey Morgenthaler (United States)
  • Robert Simonson (United States)

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book

  • Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry
  • Cocktail Culture by Shawn Soole & Nate Caudle
  • The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson
  • The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart


Best Bar Mentor

  • Jacob Briars
  • Jackson Cannon
  • Jim Meehan
  • Dushan Zaric

Best New Product

  • Ancho Reyes
  • Crawley’s Imperial Shaker Machine
  • Del Maguey Ibérico mezcal
  • Martini Gran Lusso Vermouth

World’s Best Cocktail Menu

World’s Best Drinks Selection



Negroni Week: June 2-8, 2014

Negroni by Dave Stolte

Negroni fans, start your liver stretches: Imbibe Magazine and Campari present the second annual Negroni Week, taking place from June 2-8, 2014. [...]

Continue reading Negroni Week: June 2-8, 2014


Now is the Time for Fifty Seven

El Sanguinello at Fifty Seven

Fifty Seven has opened in the Arts District of Downtown L.A., featuring chef-in-residence David Nayfeld. [...]

Continue reading Now is the Time for Fifty Seven


A Heavyweight Spring Cocktail Menu at The Roger Room

The Big Shot at The Roger Room

The forecast for the new Spring cocktail menu at The Roger Room is “heavy” with a 100 percent chance of delicious. [...]

Continue reading A Heavyweight Spring Cocktail Menu at The Roger Room


Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom


Dave Broom’s new book is about how to drink whisky, drawing on 500-plus years of history to expand the possibilities beyond drinking it straight, to include mixers both traditional and unexpected. [...]

Continue reading Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom


Touring the Cocktail: Los Angeles Series Launches at Dominick’s


On Monday, April 7, 2014, the Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC) presents “A History of Gin in Five Cocktails,” the first lecture of the Touring the Cocktail: Los Angeles series. [...]

Continue reading Touring the Cocktail: Los Angeles Series Launches at Dominick’s


Checking Out The Other List at The Corner Door


At The Corner Door, bartender Beau du Bois features The Other List, a cocktail menu that he offers to selected guests who are ready to go to the next level. [...]

Continue reading Checking Out The Other List at The Corner Door


TRAVELocal: Mexico Presented by Cocktail Academy & TRUFFL at Apartment A

Cabeza de Puerco

Cocktail Academy and TRUFFL have launched TRAVELocal, a monthly series of dinner parties that transport guests to another country through food and drink. [...]

Continue reading TRAVELocal: Mexico Presented by Cocktail Academy & TRUFFL at Apartment A


The Varnish Celebrates 5 Years, Launches Bartender Reunion Series

Eric Alperin at The Varnish

The Varnish

Time flies when you’re having fun: The Varnish is celebrating its five-year anniversary on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. For this special event, two of The Varnish partners, Eric Alperin and Sasha Petraske, will be mixing cocktails from 7pm to 11pm. As part of [...]

Continue reading The Varnish Celebrates 5 Years, Launches Bartender Reunion Series