Back in 2018, inspired by Booze and Vinyl from the brother-and-sister writing team of André and Tenaya Darlington, I asked music nerds from the bar industry to select an album and pair a couple of cocktails to enjoy while listening to it.
Two years later, as we all stay Safer at Home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I’m putting the band back together for this sequel to the Deep Cuts post. For this edition, along with the albums and cocktails I’ve asked everyone to select a nonprofit that they support.
Following a pairing from yours truly, read on for a wildly eclectic mix of music and drinks to enjoy at home. Stay safe, friends. Cheers to getting through this together!
Prince and The Revolution – Parade [Paisley Park / Warner Bros, 1986]
This year’s Record Store Day was originally scheduled for April 18, a few days before the fourth anniversary of Prince‘s death on April 21, 2016. (TBH it’s STILL hard for me to accept it.) For many Prince fans, one song from his vast catalog resonates more than any other on that date – “Sometimes It Snows in April,” the elegiac closing song from Parade.
Following the spectacular success of Purple Rain, the ever-mercurial Prince made a left turn into psychedelic pop with Around the World in a Day, which received mixed reviews but nevertheless yielded two Top 10 hits, “Raspberry Beret” and “Pop Life.” The following year, Prince released Parade, the soundtrack to his much-maligned second film, Under the Cherry Moon. The movie’s French Riviera setting is evoked throughout the album, with French lyrics and chanson arrangements that expand Prince’s already-prodigious repertoire. The soundscape ranges from the stripped down production of the iconic “Kiss” and steelpan-driven “New Position,” to the soaring “Mountains,” the jazzy funk of “Girls & Boys,” the wacky and playful “Do U Lie?” and the lush instrumental, “Venus De Milo.”
A-Side: Vieux Carré
Before the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down, one of my favorite locals was the Giannini Bar at The NoMad in Downtown LA. Located just a few blocks from my office, the dimly-lit lobby level bar was perfect for a post-work drink or pre-gaming for an event, and no matter who was behind the stick you could always count on being served a well-made cocktail. I miss bumping into friends and striking up conversations with fellow guests – something we can all say about our favorite bars.
I would often order the house Vieux Carré – so often in fact, the bartender would practically be stirring one before I sat down. As a nod to Prince’s French-inflected Parade and a shout out to The NoMad crew, there’s no better drink to sip than the signature cocktail of the Carousel Bar & Lounge, created by Hotel Monteleone bartender Walter Bergeron in 1938.
Recipe from Lift Your Spirits by Elizabeth M. Williams & Chris McMillian
- 1/2 oz Bénédictine
- 1/2 oz rye
- 1/2 oz cognac
- Mix ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass.
- Add a dash of Peychaud’s Bitters and another of Angostura.
- Add ice and stir.
B-Side: Kir Royal
This second cocktail pairing is inspired by “Alexa De Paris,” the B-side to “Mountains,” which opens Side 2 of the album. It’s a gorgeous instrumental that features Prince on guitar and everything else except for drums (played by the fabulous Sheila E.), along with an orchestral arrangement by the late, great Clare Fischer. “Alexa De Paris” is currently unreleased on streaming services, so you’ll have to go digging for it at your friendly neighborhood ”wrecka stow” when we’re no longer in quarantine.
While the vaunted French 75 would certainly be a wonderful choice for this track, let’s go with a cocktail that you can picture Christopher Tracy (Prince) and Tricky (Jerome Benton) sipping on the French Riviera, the Kir Royal.*
In his new book Drinking French, author David Lebovitz – who worked at Chez Panisse for nearly 13 years before moving to Paris in 2004 – encourages readers to vicariously experience the café culture that he eventually fell in love with: “You can recreate the feeling and flavors of a French café at home, no matter where you live.” As we stay Safer at Home, Drinking French will have to stand in as a trip to Paris for the foreseeable future.
Lebovitz has been sharing cocktail recipes on his IGTV channel, including the Kir Royal, which couldn’t be easier to make: 5 or 6 parts Champagne (Lebovitz suggests using Crémant on his IG Story) and 1 part Crème de Cassis (he uses Lejay Crème de Cassis). Lebovitz makes his Kir Royal in an ISO wine tasting glass, but when we can finally get together with our friends again I’m thinking that toasting with flutes will be the call.
(*Lebovitz notes that “Royal” is masculine, so there’s no “e” on the end of “Kir Royale.”)
Nonprofit: In response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, Art Beyond the Glass has established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to support bartenders suffering financial hardship due to loss of employment or reduced work hours.
Hailing from Seattle, Tristan Uhl has spent well over a decade behind the bar working for such iconic and illustrious bars as Tommy Gun, Bait Shop, Intermezzo Carmine and Linda’s Tavern which is famously known as the last place Kurt Cobain was seen alive. It’s been a staple of the Capitol Hill/Seattle grunge, punk and metal scene ever since. Having moved to Los Angeles in 2015 he’s been running the ship as the Beverage Director of Resident in the DTLA Arts District for the past four years. Well known for its down to earth and accessible approach to tiki-centric cocktails and variations on pre-Prohibition libations, Resident has placed itself smack dab in the middle of the Arts District cocktail scene. It’s not only a live music venue but an elevated cocktail program in its own right. Since 2018 he’s been working as a Brand Ambassador for Compass Box Scotch Whiskymakers.
Bikini Kill – Revolution Girl Style Now [Kill Rock Stars 1991, re-release by Bikini Kill Records]
“I was first introduced to Bikini Kill as a confused queer goth kid in Tomball Texas in 1997 via a mixtape that I listened to so much it eventually melted in my cassette player. I don’t remember exactly who gave it to me out of my older brother’s friend group, but it immediately struck a chord with me. Needless to say, I wasn’t very popular and a lot of my aggressors were ignorant small town boys. Musically my idols quickly became grunge and punk females that railed against the status quo like Hole, Bikini Kill and PJ Harvey and I never looked back. It’s some of the only music from my teenage years that is still in heavy rotation today.
Revolution Girl Style Now was originally released on cassette at their shows via Olympia record label Kill Rock Stars. The reuniting of Bikini Kill and the formation of their own label made it possible to get the original album that showcased many of the hits that they would later become known for. I remember being devastated when they broke up in 1998 because I knew that, chances were, I’d never see them live. Thankfully I managed to get tickets to the reunion concert at Hollywood Palladium last year and I raged HARD.”
A-Side: Disinterested Vogelkop
“Side A starts out with “Candy,” and with a name like that you can only assume the cocktail pairing would be sweet and agreeable. Don’t get me wrong, this cocktail has a sweetness if you bother to take the time to get to know it but has a bitterness you can’t deny. At our most basic we are all animals – some smart, some stupid. Animals get addicted to sugar. Once an animal’s metabolic system gets that reward/rush of sugar, it will continually go back to the source of that sugar.
What’s sweet and okay to go back to? This cocktail. What’s sweet and not okay to go back to? A disinterested party that did not grant you consent much like the Bird of Paradise I named this Jungle Bird variation after. The male of this species does an elaborate dance to attract a mate but consent is sexy and the female species of this bird is sometimes just not into that bullshit and flies away. Later Chet…”
The Disinterested Vogelkop
- 1 oz Plantation Pineapple
- ¾ oz Campari
- ½ oz Coruba Dark Rum
- ½ oz Small Hands Pineapple Gomme syrup
- 1 ½ oz pineapple juice
- ¾ oz lime juice
“Whip shake with just a little bit of crushed ice until you hear/feel it dissolve. This helps froth that pineapple. Then add regular ice and finish the job with another 5 seconds hard shaking. Strain over crushed ice in either a Collins Glass (to see that beautiful froth) or in your favorite Tiki glass. Garnish with a pineapple, maybe a cherry if you’re feeling “showy” like Chet.”
B-Side: Flannel Shirt
“Once you get to the B-Side you start out with one of my FAVORITE Bikini Kill songs “Carnival” which, being from Seattle, brings back a few memories as they mention “It’s by the Lacey Mall!” which I have regretfully been to a few times. Although my favorite references are about smoking weed, hitting on carnies, and playing those carnival games trying desperately to (as the song says) “Get that Mötley Crüe mirror if it FUCKING KILLS ME!”
On a cold autumn night in Olympia, you’ve got to have your flannel shirt. For years I’ve made my version of Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Flannel Shirt to wild success. I switch out a few ingredients that I think really bring out the full Fall season potential of this cocktail. You’ve got to go PEATIER, it needs a sweeter, richer Amaro and not only do Amaros work better with lemon peel but the drink has lemon juice in it so, naturally, you should finish it with the essence/oil of that citrus. Brightens the entire thing up.”
Riot Grrrl Flannel Shirt
- 1 ½ oz Compass Box Great King Street, Glasgow Blend
- ½ oz Braulio Amaro
- 1 oz Apple Cider (or juice depending on preference/availability)
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- ¼ oz Rich Demerara Simple
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Shake and strain on the rocks with a lemon twist expressed over the top.
Nonprofit: “I can’t believe in 2020 that Roe v. Wade is still under attack but it is. The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the legal system to champion reproductive rights as FUNDAMENTAL rights. They take on court cases that go before national courts and work directly with policymakers to promote progressive measures.
A pretty cool local option is WriteGirl, an LA-based program that matches aspiring young female writers with mentors to help develop their abilities. Who knows, they might inspire the next Kathleen Hanna or Alice Bag.”
Allan Katz is the proprietor and Executive Bus Boy at Jammyland, his cocktail bar and reggae kitchen in the Las Vegas Arts District. Its namesake is the legendary LES record store where he grew up surrounded by devotees of reggae in its myriad forms and its most skilled practitioners who frequently jammed in the basement beneath the store. While Jammyland was a seminal educator to a young musician, its culture of warm, welcoming, pretension-free hospitality was its greatest lesson. Jammyland the shebeen couldn’t have ever happened without that gloriously claustrophobic little shop.
Jaya the Cat – The New International Sound of Hedonism [Bomber Music, 2012]
“Ironically, I wasn’t introduced to Jaya the Cat at Jammyland, though I’m sure they sold their first record there. I came across a promo copy of their second LP, Basement Style in the dollar bin at Bleecker Street Records. I wasn’t prepared for how Phil Spector big their sound was. These guys were obviously gutter, and somehow they sounded like they kidnapped engineers doomed to work on Zach De La Rocha’s solo album. It was love at first listen. I’ve never seen them since the band split and the two members that soldiered on rebooted the band in Amsterdam.
The New International Sound of Hedonism was released in the summer of 2012, revealing a band that traded some of their punk ferocity for increased tunefulness, dialing back the politicized rage of their previous albums for songs that reflected them thoroughly enjoying their second act touring everywhere besides America. It dovetailed with me thoroughly enjoying my new life in LA with Caña in its salad days. That moment and this album are forever linked. That’s the glorious thing about a great record: They become the mile markers of our lives.”
A-Side: The Boneshot
“Side A begins with a dusky, dubby overture riding into the three-minute manifesto that is “Late Night Sonic Insurrection.” The energy doesn’t let up until the side’s rootsy closer, “One Way Ticket Home.” There’s something mischievously primitive about this global trap house Jaya the Cat calls home, and in turn it calls for the cocktail equivalent of moderately stepped-on cocaine. So naturally that calls for a Dave Wondrich cocktail (I’m just following the logic here). Dave turns out more sledgehammers than jewelry mallets, and when he was a youngish man he created The Boneshot for Williamsburg’s Chickenbone Café.”
- 2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
- 1 oz lime juice
- 3/4 oz raw sugar simple
- 3 dashes Tabasco
- Shake. Strain. Coupe. Lime wheel.
“The original calls for a teaspoon of juice and simple, but the lengthening does it a lot of good. It’s a blazing eye-opener perfectly suited for any time of day you’re unsure of the time of day.”
B-Side: Mai Tai
“The B-side lurches forth with “Thessaloniki,” which I’m told is essentially the Rehab Pool of the Mediterranean. The song certainly does it justice in that regard. This side of the record is basically the latter half of On the Road, or a lost Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas manuscript where Hunter finds true love at the end. It’s an unblinking stare at the wreckage that living fast renders, and that gaze leads to a “worth it” smirk, even as heroin and alcoholism threaten to put a permanent end to the party. Its last track, “Thank You” is a Waitsian love story told in stark imagery that makes it feel as honest as it is redemptive of an asshole that left Boston behind to enjoy their version of Frank’s Wild Years.
The warm tones and decidedly retro design of the album art scream Mai Tai, so what better way to stagger through the B-side?”
A Bullshit-Free Mai Tai
- 1 oz the oldest Jamaican rum you have
- 1 oz the oldest Rhum Agricole you have
- 3/4 oz lime
- 1/2 oz orgeat you either made well or paid real money for
- 1/2 oz dry curaçao
- Very short shake with cubes. Strain over crushed ice in a double Old Fashioned.
- Spent lime shell, mint, cherry garnish because you already put your best rum in it, might as well finish it proper.
Nonprofit: “While the DNC isn’t exactly a charity, we seriously need a regime ouster in this country, and they do seem to disadvantage themselves as often as they can. So give ‘em a buck to dethrone King Douchebag The Orange. When the candidate none of you has the hots for reestablishes some semblance of government, we can safely return to arguing over our political dream dates.
Runner-up: Everytown USA. Until POC can proudly wield assault weapons in protest of stay at home orders, white men shouldn’t get to play with their toys in public. It’s bad manners. But seriously, common sense gun laws just need a little tap to fall into the hole at this point. More of us support them than ever. Let’s get it all the way there.”
Bryan Chenault is the Brand Development Director/Owner of Conspiritor Consulting, which represents Amaro Angeleno, East Imperial tonics, and Ventura Spirits. When he’s not on the booze beat, you can find Bryan in all-black gear and shiny gold shoes attending Los Angeles Football Club matches.
Having just turned 25 last week, and with Pavement being an all-time favorite band, it was a no-brainer to revisit Wowee Zowee, the third of five impeccable albums that the celebrated indie rock quintet released in the 90s. Their most varied and most divisive set of songs, it can be a frustratingly inconsistent listen for the casual fan, but for us longtime advocates, it’s ultimately their most rewarding work.
Pavement’s own In Utero, Wowee Zowee is a conscious recoiling from any spotlight that briefly shone on the band from a Summer ‘95 Lollapalooza slot and actual MTV airplay for Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain semi-hit “Cut Your Hair”. Call it a passive Fuck You to any idea that they’d conform or go on to achieve any commercial success on par with their always warm critical reception (see multiple mentions as Best Rock Band of the 1990s).
Wowee is fresh on every repeat listen, as it’s simultaneously both their most mature and immature collection of music to that point, a back and forth between tracks both surprisingly serious (album opener “We Dance”), painfully sweet (the first half of “Fight This Generation”) and what should have been an alt-country classic (“Father to a Sister of Thought”), all juxtaposed with the delightfully obtuse (the mellow stroll of “Grave Architecture”), and silly / slapdash (“Serpentine Pad”).
The mood-defying album sequencing – not usually an enjoyable vinyl experience, but this being an exception – alternates between almost-singles such as spine tingler “Grounded” (as close to a ballad as Malkmus had ever veered) and “Rattled by the Rush” opposite B-sides like the hilariously half-baked “Brinx Job” and Nirvana knockoff “Flux = Rad”.
Eighteen tracks might seem bloated by many other bands’ standards, but for die-hards like myself that were hooked from the first feedback fuzz of 1992 debut Slanted and Enchanted, Wowee has proven over the years to be the odd little gift that keeps on giving.
On vinyl it’s a 3-sider, so sticking with a gin trinity, as WZ is best enjoyed low-key drunk by the end – much like Pavement, if you ever saw their ramshackle live shows back in the day.
A-Side: East Side
From the acoustic strums, tickling of the piano keys, and Stephen Malkmus’ falsetto that open the record and pervade on Track 3 “Black Out”, even a Pavement novice would be surprised at what a delicate and personal turn it is, so I wanted to start with something pretty and pinky out. With Malkmus and co-founder Spiral Stairs hailing from Stockton, CA, I thought I’d select a NorCal staple and work my way South down the state.
- 2 oz St. George Terroir Gin
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- muddled cucumber and mint
- cucumber slice garnish
B-Side: “Fog + Smog” Martini
Side 2 might start with the Sunday morning groove of “Motion Suggests” and pedal steel twang of “Father…”, but it eventually escalates to the unbridled energy of “Extradition” and “AT+T,” which means we need something stronger to up our buzz. Martini time.
One of my favorite versions on the planet is from San Francisco restaurant The Progress (the Fog), which has always had Ventura Spirits’ new Western-style gin (the Smog) on hand. Their combination of smoked Castelvetrano olive juice and rosemary oil that sits on the surface are incredible complements to Wilder’s sage-forward herbaceousness.
“Fog + Smog” Martini
- 2 1/2 oz Wilder Gin
- 1/4 oz Castelvetrano olive juice
- Bar spoon rosemary oil
- 1 Castelvetrano olive for garnish
C-Side: Corpse Reviver #2
The record finishes with some of Pavement’s favorite tracks to play live and a couple of the most punk cuts in their canon, so I thought I’d wake things up even further with a Corpse Reviver. Side 3 also contains second fiddle Scott Kannberg’s songwriting contributions, and with him now residing in LA, felt like giving this drink a Southern California spin. Rather than a standard orange liqueur, I like to use the less sweet Amaro Angeleno, which plays nice alongside the clementine base of The Spirit Guild’s signature gin.
Corpse Reviver #2 (L.A. remix)
- 3/4 oz Astral Pacific gin
- 3/4 oz Amaro Angeleno
- 3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- Absinthe rinse
- orange peel garnish
Nonprofit: Skid Row Housing Trust
Chuck Taggart moved to Los Angeles from New Orleans in 1982 to go to film school, and has been here ever since. Amid working at HBO for 30+ years he also found a side career in public radio, having DJed at KCRW and KCSN from 1988-2008, and fell into cocktail nerdistry in the late ’90s. His now-undead weblog Looka! evolved into one of the early cocktail blogs way back when. He still drinks and listens to music, especially during daily listening to WWOZ.
Dr. John – “Dr. John’s Gumbo” [Rhino / Elektra, 1972]
“I wanted to pick an album that helped set me off on one of my main musical journeys of my life, through the music of my hometown of New Orleans. Oddly enough, while growing up there I didn’t hear a whole hell of a lot of New Orleans music, at least not until I was in high school. I mostly listened to the hits station, WTIX (“The Mighty 690!” on AM — they’re still around as an oldies station on 94.6 FM), with a steady diet of ‘60s and ‘70s hits, from the Beatles to the Stones to the Jackson 5, and just about everything that ended up on a K-TEL compilation. Fortunately they did occasionally blend in some local artists, like The Meters and Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John.
In high school I started learning about local traditional jazz first, then started soaking up some of the local R&B scene via intermittent radio airplay and trips to record stores. In 1973 Dr. John dropped his classic album In The Right Place, backed up by Allen Toussaint (who also produced) and The Meters, spawned his biggest hits “Right Place, Wrong Time” and “Such A Night,” and is an album that is Practically Perfect In Every Way. These were massive local hits, and were the first Dr. John songs I heard as a kid. Despite that, for this article I chose the album that came before it, Dr. John’s Gumbo, because it extended threads that led me to other artists in New Orleans R&B.
I first bought this album when I was about 14 or 15, and it was a cornerstone for me. Gumbo is almost entirely covers of New Orleans R&B songs, starting off with what may be the quintessential cover of James “Sugarboy” Crawford’s “Iko Iko” and proceeding through songs by Earl King, Professor Longhair, and Huey “Piano” Smith. It also marked somewhat of a departure from Mac’s stage persona of “Dr. John Creaux, the Night Tripper,” and the dark, steamy, spooky, smoky voodoo doctor character he’d developed. For all its N.O. roots the album was recorded right here in the Los Angeles area, at a studio in Van Nuys. The cover art was taken in front of the Farmer John meat plant in Vernon! (That’s just about the foulest-smelling place I’ve ever been to in this city.) Mac brought New Orleans with him to Van Nuys though — Harold Battiste produced, played clarinet and sax, and did the horn arrangements, and the backup musicians included the great Lee Allen on tenor sax, Melvin Lastie on trumpet and Alvin Robinson on guitar.
I wore that first LP out, but still have the Japanese import I got in college, on super high-quality vinyl, with that great gatefold cover. (At least I thought I did — I couldn’t find it today. If you borrowed it, give it back!)”
A-Side: Night Tripper
“With Side 1 the first drink that popped into my head was Chris Hannah’s liquid tribute to Dr. John, called the Night Tripper. Bourbon base, local bitters, and two Italian liqueurs for bitterness and spice — it’s what the Doctor ordered. Chris uses Averna in his, but as with my Black Manhattans I like to play around with different amari. Try this one with the slightly smoky Amaro Sfumato for a little bit of a tip to “Big Chief” … “Find a levee and burn it down!””
By Chris Hannah, Jewel of the South, New Orleans
- 1-3/4 oz bourbon
- 3/4 oz Averna (or other amaro as you see fit for a variation)
- 1/4 oz Strega
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- Stir and strain over a large rock. Orange peel garnish.
B-Side: Cocktail À La Louisiane
“Side 2 keeps it bouncy with a Huey Smith medley, more Earl King … but oh, that version of “Tipitina.” Pure elegance. Certainly Mac’s style, but you can hear Fess in his fingers too. With that elegance I thought of one of the more elegant NOLA cocktails, the Cocktail à la Louisiane. The original version, featuring equal parts of the three main ingredients, tends to be too sweet for me these days — I like this more modern variation in which the rye is pumped up to take the sweetness down (yay) and make it boozier (YAY!).”
Cocktail À La Louisiane (Modern Variation)
House cocktail at Restaurant La Louisiane, New Orleans, late 19th Century
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
- 3/4 oz Bénédictine
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- 3 dashes absinthe or Herbsaint
- Stir and strain. Serve up with 3 brandied cherries on a pick.
“Oh, and listen to “In the Right Place” anyway. Have a real passion fruit or Fassionola Hurricane, then a Sazerac.”
Bonus Single: The Meters – “They All Ask’d for You”
“This was probably the first Meters song I ever heard. The single dropped in the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, got plenty of local airplay and was a huge local hit. Back home EVERYBODY knows and loves this song! And I still do.
For this one I want to be sipping a Roffignac from a go-cup while walking around the Audubon Zoo, looking at the monkeys, tigers, and elephants (and sweating my balls off).”
- 2 oz cognac
- 1-1/2 ounces raspberry shrub
- 1/4-1/2 ounces simple syrup, to taste
- Build over ice in an 8-ounce highball glass or rocks glass. Top with soda. If you wanna get fancy garnish with three raspberries on a pick.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar (you can try champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar as well)
“Combine berries and sugar in a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one day. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, then add the vinegar to the strained syrup. If there’s any undissolved sugar on the solids, pour the syrup-vinegar mix through the solids again to wash the sugar into the bowl; repeat as needed. Bottle and shake to incorporate any remaining sugar. Let rest in the fridge a week before use. (Thanks to Michael Dietsch for the shrub recipe! From his book Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times.)
Yeah you rite.”
Colin Miller is the LA District Manager for Campari America and DJs around town at spots like Club Tee Gee, Broken Shaker and Resident. Most recently he collaborated with legendary EDM rapper Dances with White Girls and Downtown NY DJ favorite Marlos to throw a day party series called Vacaymode featuring classic dance music sounds from various eras with a rotating cast of guest DJs. (@vacaymodela on IG)
Hercules and Love Affair – “You Belong” [DFA Records, 2008]
“This record brings back so many great memories of the 2000s in NYC. Brooklyn was having an extended moment in the sun in regards to music and nightlife. Rubulad and a few other warehouses in Bushwick and Bed Stuy were throwing massive all night parties, as Williamsburg had rapidly gentrified and most of the illegal venues there had given way to condo projects and upscale “dive” bars. DFA artists and other like minded acts rooted in Post Punk and classic dance music jockeyed with Burning Man tribal house, NOLA bounce music, and tons of now regrettable sounding rap and indie mashups for dancefloor supremacy.
I was working as a Bike Messenger and had started my own company with some friends and we’d spend most days hauling packages and food for 12-14 hours a day then partying till dawn at whatever warehouse would let us dirty fuckers leave our bikes in a pile outside and look the other way when we smuggled cheap booze in. One of our buddies that lived below me at the time, Mike Huencke aka Freddie Mas, was a bike messenger/multi-talented performing artist and recorded with The Juan Maclean and other DFA Records artists in his apartment at all hours. Mike played me Hercules and Love Affair’s [eponymous debut] album before it came out and I was hooked instantly. I was a fan of LCD, but the Hercules album just hit differently.
“Blind” was the first album release and was a monster anthem, but the second single “You Belong” really spoke to me in a different way. The throwback Chicago House vibe with Andrew Butler’s raw house drum patterns and sparse synth stabs drew me in instantly. Plus Antony Hegearty’s haunting vocals building up throughout the song are pure dance music perfection. The 12-inch features some great remixes by Derrick Carter, Kevin Saunderson, Riton and a Club Edit that makes it a worthwhile pickup for any dance music vinyl head.”
A-Side: Aperol Spritz
“Since I work for Campari now you already knew this was my go-to. Nothing captures the vibe of dance music like the Aperol Spritz (in fact we built Vacaymode around the drink and lifestyle it denotes).”
- Equal Parts Aperol + Prosecco
- Splash of Soda
- Build it in a balloon glass with plenty of ice PROSECCO FIRST (The secret to evenly mixed Spritz) then Aperol, finish with a splash of soda and garnish with an orange slice.
B-Side: The Siesta
“Sticking with the orange hued summer vibes, this Hemingway Daiquiri riff by NYC bartender Katie Stipe is a great patio pounder cocktail for those house music fueled nights that turn into day parties by the pool, plus tequila and Campari is a winning combo in most forms to me.”
- 2 oz Espolon Blanco Tequila
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz Campari
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- Grapefruit twist, for garnish
- Add tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, Campari, and simple syrup to a shaker tin filled with ice.
- Shake to combine and chill.
- Strain into a chilled Coupe glass.
- Express the grapefruit twist over the drink and drop it in.
Nonprofit: No Us Without You
With 22 years of experience in the bar/restaurant industry, Dave Castillo has been tending bar for about 18 years, became a sommelier in 2008, and delved into the classic cocktail scene in 2009 when he went to work with Jason Schiffer at 320 Main. Dave has spent the last 5+ years managing the bar at Workshop Kitchen+Bar with his partner in life Michelle Bearden, and now manages Workshop’s sister bar, Truss & Twine, which he opened 3 years ago. Ever the music lover, he has sung in a band, DJed, and will take almost any chance he gets to see a live show.
Amanaz – Africa [Zambia Music Parlour, 1975]
“I first learned about Amanaz a while back whilst putting together a psychedelic playlist. It was the cool way – when listening to a band leads you to checking out a couple other bands, then those lead you to do the same. In my search I learned of a music genre called Zamrock, which came about in the 1970s and has mainly been described as a mix of traditional African music with psychedelic rock and funk. It’s largely influenced by Jimi Hendrix and James Brown, plus riff-heavy bands like Cream, The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and Link Wray. Sadly Zamrock was a short lived genre – having begun in the rough first decade of Zambia’s independence, it enjoyed its heyday in the years Zambia as a whole was doing well. Then an economic crash, trouble with neighboring countries, and the ’80s AIDS epidemic put an end to it. Luckily, in that time Amanaz (an acronym for “Ask Me About Nice Artistes in Zambia”) was able to record one album, titled Africa.
Along with albums like In The Past and Introduction by another great band of the genre, WITCH (“We Intend To Cause Havoc”), this has to be one of the best examples of Zamrock. It’s a great mix of groovy, bluesy beats; American and British rock, African folk-rock, lots of distorted, overdriven, psych-rock guitar; vocals that range from crooning to strained, and all wrapped in a slightly unpolished garage sound. It’s great front-to-back and each side plays like a short album.
A-Side: The Good Lion
“I came up with The Good Lion a couple years ago after being inspired by a cocktail I tasted at the bar of the same name in Santa Barbara. It is currently on the menu at Workshop Kitchen+Bar. It’s a riff on an Old Fashioned, but with the main spirit split between bourbon and Jamaican rum, banana liqueur as the sweetener, and six good dashes of bitters plus orange oil. Cocktails like this are awesome in their simplicity (3 main ingredients) with no lack of complexity. With the molasses funkiness of the Jamaican rum, the confectionery spice notes of the bourbon and bitters, and the banana liqueur it always reminds me of a good banana bread. Plus, like most “fancy” cocktails served on rocks it starts off one way, has a middle, and ends another, just like this first side of the album.”
The Good Lion
- 1 oz Evan Williams “small batch”
- 1 oz Coruba
- 1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Brésil
- 6 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Combine all ingredients in an Old Fashioned glass. Stir, express an orange zest over, discard, and enjoy.
I’m usually a sucker for any album that begins with an instrumental intro track. Africa begins with the eponymous “Amanaz” – a rather simple, repetitive song with a groovy, funky bassline, muted drums, and sounds like it’s from a blaxploitation film score. (You know, the part where the cool antihero is strutting down a grimy, inner-city street to kick a muthafucka’s ass.) Save the fact that over the entire track there is a super fuzzed out lead guitar playing essentially a psychedelic guitar solo that lasts for over two and a half minutes. It gets you warmed up and lets you know you’re in for something different. From there the Lou Reed-sounding “I Am Very Far” leads to a very Donovan, Velvet Underground inspired “Sunday Morning” that feels, well, like a Sunday morning. Then comes “Khala My Friend”, easily one of my favorite tracks of the album, a heart wrenching and sweet song. This one is soft and hippie-folkie, like a Bread or Thunderclap Newman song. When singer Keith Kabwe sings “Khala my friend, the world is full of misery. And the road you’ve taken has no end. Khala my friend, come back to me. Khala my friend, ’cause I’m gonna miss you.” You may feel a slight sting, especially at times like these. By the time you get to one of the heavier rock songs on the album, “History Of Man” – with its thick layers of fuzz guitar, psychedelic groove, and Kabwe’s cracking wail – you should be feeling the first effects of your cocktail. After that, “Nsunka Lwendo” is the first of the three tracks sung in the Bemba language – a climactic end to Side 1 and a great time to get that second cocktail.”
B-Side: O Captain! My Captain!
Dave thinks this drink is from three menus ago at Bootlegger Tiki: “They always have a Zombie-style cocktail on their menus (tall, boozy, and delicious) but you can still order it. Good thing because it’s one of my favorites. Like a Zombie, it’s a blend of rums, citrus, and a whole lot of other things. Bold, complex, and demanding to be taken time with, it’s fitting for that second side of Africa in that it too has stages. From the beginning, which really lets you know it’s there, to a middle, which builds as opposed to let up, to the finish, which is where you see that you’re getting toward the end and may feel a bit of sadness staring at the last third, or quarter of your cocktail. Then of course, is an exhilarating finish as I always quickly slurp that last third or quarter!”
O Captain! My Captain!
- 1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross
- 1 oz Plantation pineapple
- 1/2 oz Lime
- 1/2 oz Lemon
- 1/2 oz Cinnamon syrup
- 1/2 oz Falernum
- 1/4 oz Fernet Branca
- 2 dashes Angostura
- 6 drops Absinthe
- 1 pinch Salt
“As I said, this thing has a lot of things in it! Combine all ingredients in a tin, blend for about two or three seconds with a countertop milkshake blender, serve in a glass garnished with mint and a bunch of other stuff. It’s a tiki drink after all.”
“The second side opens with one of the more traditional Zambian music tracks of the album, fittingly titled “Africa.” Somewhere between the soft, smooth and heavier tracks of the album, it’s a good way to start and gets you warmed up again. “Green Apple” is another great, groovy instrumental full of distorted guitar a la “Who’s That Lady” by the Isley Brothers. Another rock-heavy track, “Making The Scene” is all great psych-rock in the vein of Cream and even a little Black Sabbath. Almost prophetically, Kabwe sings “It’s never easy, making the scene!” as if he were predicting the fate of his band and the Zamrock genre itself. Now that second cocktail should be kicking in, and at the perfect time because “Easy Street” comes along. It’s all cool groove/soul and could easily be a James Brown song – very “The Boss”. (Again I am filled with visions of grainy film, bad muthas, polyester, afros, and smoky, oversized sunglasses.) The Rolling Stones are definitely paid a nod on the track “Big Enough” – with a heavy dose of that ubiquitous fuzzed out guitar, of course. This to me is the most Brit-rock sounding track of the album – all young man angst like early tracks of The Who along with The Stones. Finally comes “Kale” which starts off as one song, downtempo and seemingly sad. I don’t know for sure as this is the last song sung in Bemba, but at a little past the halfway mark it changes into another song altogether that reminds me of Santana. Upbeat and still in Bemba, it’s as if the band is seeing you off, telling you “this is who we are, this is what we do, hope you enjoy it.” I agree – though seemingly influenced by many styles, and notwithstanding the many bands I’ve compared them to, the more I listen to this album the more I feel like it is all Amanaz. This album has been re-issued twice – once in Germany and not long ago in the U.S. and thankfully so.”
Nonprofit: Keep Shining Palm Springs
Design director and award-winning illustrator Dave Stolte heads the studio Wexler of California, providing creative services to the restaurant, bar, and liquor industries. Clients have included Disney, Pernod Ricard, Campari America, Marnier Lapostolle, Rémy Cointreau, Smuggler’s Cove, The Bon Vivants, Lush Life Productions, Haas Brothers, Las Joyas del Agave, Dirty Sue, Consortium Holdings (San Diego), Conversion Concepts (Spokane), and Verging Hospitality (Santa Monica). He was featured in Imbibe magazine’s “Design Issue” of March/April 2016. He is the author, illustrator, and publisher of “Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics),” twice nominated for a Tales of the Cocktail® Spirited Award as “Best New Cocktail Book,” and is currently developing an all-new third edition.
Mose Allison – Mose Allison Sings [Prestige, 1963]
“Recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder and released in 1963, Mose Allison Sings is a snappy collection of 13 blues and soul standards from the likes of Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Willie Dixon. Allison’s laid-back weirdo vocals impart the effect that he’s somehow both a half-step behind the rest of the band and exactly where he needs to be. You’ll have to decide for yourself if his humming and muttering to himself while he’s in the zone on piano is charming or annoying. I know where I stand.”
A-Side: Georgia Julep
“Something jumpy, no-nonsense and inspired by the South: I’ll go for a Georgia Julep with Ferrand 1840 cognac and Catoctin Creek’s Short Hill Mountain Peach Brandy.”
- In a Julep cup, add a handful of fresh mint and 1 teaspoon of superfine sugar. Muddle gently to saturate sugar with mint oils and to coat the interior sides of the cup. Fill halfway with pebble ice.
- 2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac
- 1/2 oz Catoctin Creek Short Hill Mountain Peach Brandy
- Top and mound with finely-crushed ice. Garnish with mint, serve with a straw & wrap the cup in a cloth napkin.
B-Side: Vieux Looze
“Sticking with the South, I’ll stay in Allison’s goofball corner with a Vieux Looze, a drink I came up with by making another drink wrong for years.”
- 1 oz Ferrand 1840 cognac
- 1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
- 1/2 oz Bénédictine
- 3 dashes Bitter Truth Creole Bitters
- 2 dashes Herbsaint.
- Build in a rocks glass over a big cube. Spritz in a little lemon or orange oils, garnish with the zest. Why not?
Nonprofit: California Emergency Foodlink
Dino Soccio is a DJ/producer and record collector from Los Angeles via Chicago. He’s also a craft cocktail consultant working with New School Consulting here in Los Angeles.
The Verve – A Storm in Heaven [Vernon Yard Recordings, 1993]
“There’s been plenty of ethereal, meditative albums being rinsed at home these days. Something about absorbing these sounds and having the time to take them in has been relaxing to me amongst all the anxiety and uncertainty. The Verve’s first couple of releases – the EP in 1992 and the debut LP, “A Storm In Heaven” – had a huge impact on me as a young guitarist and songwriter. It’s been really comforting revisiting these records after all these years. Classic records now in the British shoegaze canon, try sipping on a Session Dark n Stormy and imagine how fun it would be to see this band at the peak of their powers playing these songs at a venue the size of the amazing Teragram Ballroom.”
Session Dark n Stormy
- 3/4 ounce blackstrap rum
- 1 ounce Amaro Montenegro
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 4 ounces ginger beer, preferably Fever-Tree
- Garnish: lime wedge
GoFundMe: Teragram Ballroom & Moroccan Lounge
Windham Hill Records Sampler ‘84
“I’ve woken up and put this record on the turntable so many times over the past six weeks. The initial sounds of Michael Hedges “Aerial Boundaries” has set my mind at ease and been a great way to reset after waking up to the daily concerning news of the pandemic. The entire record is classic Windham Hill sounds of “new age” and ambient that they helped pioneer throughout the 80s and 90s. Pair this record with a Cold Brew Negroni and put it on while making a sweet brunch at home or an after dinner digestif.”
Cold Brew Negroni
- 1 1/4 ounces gin
- 1/2 oz Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
- 3/4 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
- 1 oz Gran Classico
- Garnish: orange peel
Nonprofit: Downtown Women’s Center
John Coltharp describes himself as “a bartender who has moved around a lot.” He was trained by Sam Ross in 2007; was head bartender at Seven Grand in 2008 and ‘09; opened Caña Rum Bar; worked with Vincenzo Marianella at Copa d’Oro; and with Devon Esponsa, Dan Long and Ryan Wainwright at The Tasting Kitchen. Opened The Parish, which was “a fail.” Made it back to head bartender at Seven Grand in 2017 and ‘18. Now he spends more time with his kids and his beautiful wife Maria in the tiny town of Port Townsend, Washington. John does a few days a week behind the stick at The In Between with “one of the best crews I have ever worked with. Life is good.”
The Entrance Band – The Entrance Band [Ecstatic Peace, 2009]
“Haunting and exhilarating. Psychedelic rock stripped down, distorted, and fed back with splashes of old blues and garage. Incredible bass lines from Paz Lenchantin formerly of A Perfect Circle and currently a member of the Pixies. Derek James on percussion is phenomenal. Frontman and guitarist Guy Blakeslee is a man possessed. Every track is a deeply personal journey, and some are roller coasters.
P.S. I ran into Ryan Wainwright at an Entrance concert once, which made me feel extra cool.”
A-Side: Barrel Proof Old Fashioned
“This is a rock album. As much as it’s also a psychedelic rock and blues album, this album deserves high volume and everything else turned up too. “Lookout!” hits you right in the face at the top with heavy guitars and big, echoing vocals. A barrel proof Old Fashioned hits you right in the mouth, then the rest of the face, in a similar way. First the citrus twist aroma brings you in, then the intense oak flavor, the sweetness from both the whiskey and the little bit of sugar, the noticeable spice of hopefully just a little too much bitters till right then the heat of the high test whiskey blasts into the forefront. As it continues to chill down so do you. On the third song I’m halfway done and the drink is now down to ‘normal’ proof. “Still Be There” is back to the garage, but it’s a massive air hangar of a garage with sick work on both bass and drums.”
Barrel Proof Old Fashioned
Recommended Whiskies: Stagg Jr. or Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.
- 2 oz barrel proof Bourbon or American Rye (114pf stuff like Weller Full will do just fine)
- Sugar – either a small cube or a 1/4 ounce of 1:1 simple syrup
- 3 to 4 dashes of bitters (bigger whiskies need a heavy hand of bitters)
- If you have huge ice and frozen glassware: build in glass and stir 5 to 6 times.
- If you have normal ice and room temp glassware: build in an empty stirring glass, fill with ice, stir quickly and immediately pour over a decent fresh cube.
- Garnish is a lemon twist first – express the oils over the surface of the drink, quickly rub along the edge of the glass, and either lay facing up on the ice or slice a cut down the middle lengthwise and stand the peel on the edge of the glass.
- Repeat with an orange twist.
- Cherries are optional, but they are better served on the side.
““Grim Reaper Blues” was the first Entrance Band song I ever heard and it blew my fucking mind. It still does. It’s like a rusty truck of LSD on fire. Gritty, ghostly, slow, fast, sexy, familiar, completely out of this world. The first Zombie has a similar effect. Super complex and intense, captivating and comforting. You find new flavors with every sip. It’s dry and sweet and citrusy and refreshing and boozy all at the same time. When bartenders get the citrus and sweeteners right, they then have 3 rums to pick out – one is already called out pretty specifically in the 1 oz of Demerara 151. For the Jamaican the tendency is to go with a heavy pot still. This is a good tendency and it should generally be followed, although Plantation O.F.T.D. is a great heavy blend. For the gold Puerto Rican try to get some Ron Del Barrilito. By the time you are halfway done with the Zombie you should be on “Lives” and feeling really good. It will fit well with the ethereal sounds you are now listening to. But don’t don’t worry if this is getting too mellow because “You Must Turn” will bring you right back to the heavy psychedelic soundscape with plenty of darkness and sharp, layered melody. At this point you will likely be out of your mind. You’re welcome.”
Zombie (a.k.a. Zombie Punch, Don E.R. Beachcomber 1934)
“This recipe is 100% due to Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. He also unearthed multiple other historic Zombie recipes from the classic faux tropical bar era. This is just my favorite for this application.”
- 1 1/2 oz Jamacian rum
- 1 1/2 oz gold Puerto Rican
- 1 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz Don’s Mix (fill a ½ ounce jigger more than halfway with fresh grapefruit juice, finish the jigger with cinnamon simple)
- 1/2 oz Falernum
- 6 drops Herbsaint or Pernod or new absinthe
- Teaspoon grenadine or about a sixth of an ounce
- Dash of Angostura Bitters
Put this mix in an electric blender with 6 ounces (3/4 cup) crushed ice, then blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a tall glass. Add ice cubes to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Nonprofit: “I would like to give a shout out to Art Beyond the Glass and the charity work they have been doing for years. Many bartenders – myself not included – are amazing artists that continue to make this world a more beautiful and more fulfilling place. Art Beyond the Glass puts light on their amazing work while raising money for good causes.”
Josh Gelfand is the Whisk(e)y Warden and Spirit Guide at Wingtip in San Francisco. “Having spent some time as a scotch brand ambassador and whisky educator, I returned to the bar a few years ago and have reveled in the creativity and deep love of hospitality. Being in this industry has also reconnected me to my first love, music. A former professional keyboard player, I’ve been able to get back out to performing again at bars and bar industry events on a semi-regular basis. And quarantine has enabled me to play even more for a broader audience through the magic of live streaming.”
Joni Mitchell – Shadows and Light [Asylum Records, 1980]
“Backed by one of the greatest bands of virtuosos ever assembled, this live album recorded at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 1979, shows off Joni Mitchell’s vocal acrobatics, jazz chops, deep intimacy and playful sexiness. Shadows and Light features the magical bass wonderment of Jaco Pastorius at the masterful apex of his legendary yet tragically brief career; Don Alias’ percussive precision and creativity; Pat Metheny’s sublime guitar work alongside the keyboard mastery of his longtime partner (and recently departed) Lyle Mays; and finally the oozing buttery saxophone stylings of one of the most recorded musicians of all time, Michael Brecker (he appeared on more than 700 records in his career!). This is a driving, funky, jazzy, ethereal, contemplative, and sexy album that is as bright as a SoCal beach and as dark as an NYC jazz club. It is indeed a summation of all of its components – the shadow and the light.”
Every picture has its shadows
And some source of light
Blindness, blindness and sight
The perils of benefactors
The blessings of parasites
Blindness, blindness and sight
I remember only really knowing Joni Mitchell as a “folk singer” when this album was introduced to me as I was really diving into jazz. My friend and old bass player played “Dry Cleaner From Des Moines” for me and my jaw dropped. Her vocal dexterity, the interplay with Alias’ drums, Jaco’s driving walk, speedy 16th note triplets and harmonic blasts as he interplayed with Brecker’s solo absolutely blew my mind. Greasy, smooth, and aggressive, but balanced with the sensitive and delicate precision of her vocals made this the standout track on the album for me.”
A-Side: Club Tropicana
“A deeply contemplative visceral album requires similar cocktails. The first record is elegant and inviting, so I’m starting with a little Martini/Negroni-inspired hybrid called the “Club Tropicana” that I created for our last menu.”
- 1 1/2 oz Gin (I used Junipero)
- 3/4 oz Manzanilla sherry
- 1/2 oz Gran Classico
- 1/2 oz Italicus Bergamot Liqueur
- Stir and serve up in a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
B-Side: Perfect, Shmerfect
“The second record starts robust and playful, funky and abstract, and settles into a delicate dream state. For this, I’m making something I call the “Perfect, Shmerfect,” inspired by an equal parts perfect Manhattan, but adjusted accordingly.”
- 1 1/4 oz Jack Daniel’s Barrel Proof Private Select Wingtip Cask (133.5°) (“You can also use most other *very* overproofed whiskies, like George T. Stagg or Booker’s. Aim for 62% ABV or higher. If lower, adjust the specs for more whiskey.”)
- 1 oz Carpano Antica
- 3/4 oz Carpano Bianco
- 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
- flamed absinthe spritz
- grapefruit peel
“Stir whiskey, vermouths and bitters and strain into chilled coupe. Light a match and spray absinthe from an atomizer over the glass to get the charred flavors resting on top. Take a grapefruit peel and express the oils UNDERNEATH the glass, not on the drink, and wipe the stem and base of the glass with the peel, in order to get the aromatics of the grapefruit oils without allowing them into the cocktail.”
Nonprofit: Feed the Frontlines SF
Maxwell Reis is a worshiper of Agave Spirits, Cocktails, and avid jammer of Metal Music. Hailing from Napa, CA he currents resides in Los Angeles where he runs an agave specialized beverage program at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood. You can usually find him drinking Mezcal out of carefully labeled water bottles, preaching agave practices at his own bar, and generally shaking things up about town.
Death – Leprosy [Combat Records, 1988]
“I distinctly remember being 10 years old and saving up money for a record I’d never heard before. My friends didn’t tell me to buy it, and I hadn’t heard about it on the radio, but when I walked down the aisles at the only record store in Napa, CA where I grew up, for some reason the grotesque cover art called to me like a siren to the rocks. Although I’d say many records will find themselves romanticized by me in this fashion, none stick out to me quite like Death’s 1988 release Leprosy. I remember so vividly coming home, removing Steely Dan’s Can’t Buy A Thrill from my family’s record player, and pressing play, waiting for the validation of my newest commitment to arise from within the old speakers. My parents, being open minded folks, asked me if I liked the record. Like my first sip of alcohol, I lied and said, “yes.”
Leprosy rewrote the rules of American death metal. It embodied and perfected the commitment to brutality – the previous release Scream Bloody Gore had confronted the Florida metal scene a year prior, but introduced a prog-like exploration I would only parallel to bands that were popular at the time like Rush and Yes. The band lead, Chuck Schuldiner, insisted he was breaking no new ground, and simply paying homage to the music he loved, but his interpretations of “what was” transformed the genre into what it has become today. The “Neo Classic” of metal you could say, so let’s start there.”
A-Side: American Trilogy
“More than 10 years after Death began to revolutionize the Orlando music scene, the bar Milk and Honey began to do the same for cocktail bars in New York, and what I would consider to be the “Neo Classic” Cocktail was born. Not only does a ‘neo classic’ establish the fact that the cocktail is a modern classic, it also pays homage to its cocktail roots, while further expanding on the concept. Leprosy may not have ‘broken new ground’ to those that created it, because it was their homage and version of something they worshiped – to the bartenders of Milk and Honey, the American Trilogy was just that.”
- 1 oz Bonded Rye
- 1 oz Bonded Applejack Brandy
- 1 barspoon Demerara Gomme
- 3 dashes Orange Bitters
- Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled rocks glass over a big rock. Garnish with orange and lemon twist.
B-Side: Poet’s Dream
“Throughout the cacophonous arrangements of Leprosy, moments of pristine originality and beauty pierce through and make this album the groundbreaking release it is. The opposition of emotion creates a journey rather than merely strapping in the listener for the onslaught to come. The heavy and apparent themes entice you to listen, but the beauty of the record is dark and its depths are simple yet eternal. I often think of these beautiful and simple moments that shine out, and act as a guide to what’s to come.
The classic version of the Poet’s Dream cocktail is nothing short of brutal, but with curation and appreciation to detail comes beauty. This version takes a more modern ratio of ingredients that I picked up during my time behind the bar at Republique, and applies them to a split spirit base used by LA’s Normandie Club when making me a rendition of this classic Gin drink. I will let it plunge me into darkness anytime.”
- 1 oz Mezcal
- 1 oz Pisco
- 1/2 oz Blanc Vermouth
- 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
- 1/4 oz Benedictine
- 1 dash Grapefruit Bitters
- Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled Nick and Nora. Express and discard grapefruit twist
RIP CHUCK SCHULDINER 1983-2001
Nonprofit: “The Tequila Interchange Project works with the agave community to teach ethical farming and production practices, and advocate for and assist the hard working and unsung hero’s behind agave spirits. My heart out goes out to Jimadors that must continue to work during the pandemic, some of which already don’t have running water and electricity. In these weird times, the people who have already been struggling are continuing to struggle more so, and the Tequila Interchange Project has them in their hearts.”
Naomi Schimek jumped back into the local bartending arena this past winter after spending a large part of the last 6 years traversing the globe as a brand ambassador and guest bartender via her bar and beverage consultancy, Schimek Studios. She is well-known for her creative impact on the early days of the LA mixology scene, then a culmination of a storied bar career that began in the early 90s. Naomi has been spending the quarantine cooking for family and doing volunteer work as part of a hospitality employee legislative research cooperative. She likes old cars, new dresses and rock n’ roll.
Tom Waits – Nighthawks at the Diner [Asylum Records, 1975]
“Dropped straight out of a Chandler novel into a Los Angeles jazz cafe in 1975 is the one and only Tom Waits, beat oracle of the dark, warm narcotic American night. Quarantined, I often find myself spinning this record. It soothes, transporting me back to the vibrant pulse of the city when I’m lamenting my favorite watering holes, all night diners, the gypsy hacks, the insomniacs…swizzle stick legs jackknifed over naugahyde stools…There’s no place on earth like the heart of Saturday night in the City of Angels – but when you’re stuck on the inside looking out this double album sure comes close.”
A-Side: Emma’s 49er
“Here’s something to whip up when the thunderstorms start increasing over the southeast and south central portions of your apartment.”
- 1 oz coffee syrup*
- 1/2 oz heavy cream
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- 2 oz whiskey
- 1 whole egg
*Coffee must be strong enough to defend itself, with equal parts demerara sugar.
“Egg should be added last, right before you shake. This cocktail must be shaken vigorously – first without ice to emulsify and froth, then a second time with ice added in.
Strain and dust with fresh grated nutmeg. Serve it colder than a ticket taker’s smile at the Ivar Theatre on a Saturday night.”
B-Side: Honey Sour
Well, the dawn cracked hard just like a bullwhip
‘Cause it wasn’t takin’ no lip from the night before…
“Ideally, this is a cocktail that can be made using what quarantined readers already have at home. The difference between a real knockout Honey Sour and a merely passable one is a fine line. Exact measurements are key. And for those with mixed feelings over mixed drinks – nothing beats a slug of mezcal to warm the bones and greet a wrathful dawn.”
- 3/4 oz lemon
- 3/4 oz honey syrup (2 parts honey, one part water)
- 2 oz mezcal
- 1 wide swath of grapefruit peel
- Combine all and shake well, strain and serve over ice. Garnish with cayenne pepper if you like.
Nonprofit: I’d like to give attention to Another Round Another Rally for all the wonderful work they do, especially where undocumented hospitality employees are concerned.
In what seems like a different lifetime, Payman Bahmani started out as a lawyer but quickly realized he’d rather practice at a different type of bar. His passion for craft cocktails eventually took him around the globe, working in world-class bars in NYC, Taipei, and Singapore. He’s now back in LA where he will be opening his first restaurant and bar in Echo Park. Payman also hosts The Well: A Podcast for Mindful Drinking, available on Spotify, iTunes and other platforms.
Kaytranada – 99.9% [XL Recordings, 2016]
“Kaytranada is an artist I’ve been excited about for a while. Creates really funky genre-bending music that defies simple categorization. 99.9% was his first album and still my favorite. I love artists that—even in some small way—alter how I think of or perceive music. And he’s one of those artists. The album has great range too—from straightforward bangers like “One Too Many” with the rapper Phonte (the guy Drake stole his style from), to some crazy sounding beats like “Lite Spots” that takes some old Indian song sample and completely twists and reworks it into this dope, crazy, neck breaking song.
So what to drink with such music? I think the appropriate cocktails have to be equally genre-defying. I’ll give you a shaken and a stirred cocktail, because balance is a requisite element of all things in life.”
Nonprofit: Restaurant Workers Community Foundation
Robin Nance (aka “Nancy” to her colleagues at Beam Suntory) is not your usual company employee – while embracing the discipline required to build business within a corporate environment, she embodies an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to win that is infectious to those around her. She currently reigns as the Portfolio Trade Engagement Manager, where she harnesses the strength of Beam Suntory brands and creates high profile, meaningful experiences for bartenders, owners, and servers.
When not sharing her love of spirits, Robin works as her dogs’ personal Instagram-ographer (@biggsNnuggs) and enjoys listening to music on large plastic disks. She also likes to keep fit by walking and chewing gum at the same time.
Alice Clark – Alice Clark [Mainstream Records, 1972]
“Salve for your soul! This album is practically perfect in every way. If you love soul and jazz it’s a must have. To think this album was considered a failure when it was released in 1972 is heartbreaking and even more so, she only recorded a total of 15 songs in her short, 4-year career. One can only hope that upon her death in 2004 (at the young age of 57) she had some idea of the incredible impact she had on music. In 2019, Record Store Day re-released this record to a whole new generation. I hope they love it as much as I do.”
A-Side: Bed Stuy Spritz
“The songs on this side make me want to sit on a fire escape on a breezy spring day in Alice’s NYC neighborhood, listening to her sing and sipping on a spritz.”
Bed Stuy Spritz
- 4 oz white wine*
- 4 oz club soda*
- 1 lemon rind garnish
- Add wine to a tall wine glass with ice and top with club soda. Twist lemon rind over glass and add.
* Both the wine and club soda should be as cold as possible.
“I imagine all of the incredible musicians brought in to record these songs, sitting around at the end of a studio session, shooting the shit and drinking Stingers.”
- 2 oz Courvoisier VSOP
- 1 oz crème de menthe
- Pour Courvoisier & crème de menthe into a rocks glass. Fill glass with ice. Wash your hands.* Stir with finger and enjoy!
[*WCCO in Minnesota thoughtfully posted Prince lyrics to sing while you’re washing your hands instead of the awful Happy Birthday song. ~ DD]
Nonprofit: “I love the partnership between Restaurant Workers Community Foundation & Southern Smoke. Doing amazing work for the hospitality sector during the COVID-19 crisis. I also love Another Round Another Rally!
Ryan Wainwright is the North American Ambassador for the House of Bombay Gin. He recently converted his @hereingaid IG account to a COVID-19 album a day feed.
Lou Reed – Coney Island Baby [RCA Records, 1976]
“With @hereingaid I wanted to share my love of music and inspire people to listen to artists from all genres. My main goal was to try and help people shut off their screens and connect into their minds, their creativity and their groove (get it? cause groove and record grooves…you see what I did there). I am truly worried about people…not just financially (which of course is such a painful thing) but also mentally and I find the only thing that makes any sense to me these days is music – not greatest hits, not an album on shuffle, a full length LP from start to finish. Anyway, out of those albums the one that I had the most fun drinking to was none other than Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby. I struggle to think of an artist more powerful or a down right cantankerous old man more loved than Lou Reed, and that gives my heart a little hope to be sure. For me this album is him truly playing and showing how complex and versatile he was as an artist and musician. It definitely helps to have Mick Rock’s photos all over it to give you those artistic cues of just the kind of blurred out fun we are about to have before you’ve even dropped the needle.
This was Lou Reed’s sixth solo album and to be sure, his most romantic. At the time, he was madly in love and this album stood as his love letter to his muse Rachel Humphreys and to the idea of what Coney Island had come to mean to Americana at the time. What I love about this album is you really get to see and feel a person who most considered cold or crude showing you that he actually has a deep sense of humor and passion. The music is amazing and it doesn’t hurt that he had the legendary Doug Yule back at his side on bass. I think they really gel on this record in a way only people who played for so long together could.”
A-Side: Frozen Peach Negroni
“Lou Reed comes right out the gate with “Crazy Feeling” and immediately you know that something amazing is about to happen to your brain. It has all the depth you would want but a humor that you weren’t expecting. It continues to build on side A with “Kicks” which is where you see some old Lou Reed start to reappear. I mean that only in the sense that he is translating this humor now and applying it to explaining other areas of his life. Three songs on love was about as much as he could handle but we see the tone carry over to him describing his addiction to life. For side A there is only one thing you could drink. It’s a blended peach Negroni. Yep. A damn blended peach Negroni and you are going to love it! If you don’t have peach puree or don’t like peaches just go with whatever you like. I thought peaches really worked well with the flavors in the Negroni but you can throw any crazy fruit you want in there. I actually used blackberry jam once and that was fire too. Lou would want you to use peaches though. Just saying.”
Frozen Peach Negroni
- 1 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
- 1 oz Martini Rubino Vermouth
- 1/2 oz Martini Bitter
- 1/2 oz Real Peach Puree (or really any puree)
- 1/4 oz Honey Syrup (Just add a little water to your honey to help it blend into your drink. Good rule of thumb is 3 parts honey to 1 part water)
- ICE (general rule of thumb is to add just enough ice to start to come up over the cocktail in the blender. It seems like a lot but it gives it such a nice texture)
- Build all of this in your blender and when you are ready turn it on. Serve with a half orange wheel on top to make it really pop.
B-Side: Bombay Martini
“On the B-side he dives back in. But again, in true Lou Reed fashion. If “A Gift” doesn’t make you smile you are colder than me, ha! This song is truly FULL LOU REED now and I love every second of it – you could see him making the entire band crack up the whole time. From there he builds up to “Nobody’s Business” where he starts to deal with a lot of the things that he was getting flack for in those days. What is amazing is he applies his same humor to very difficult topics in his life in the beginning of the 80s. He is saying: yes I am dating a trans woman…guess whose business it is; yes I am doing drugs…guess whose business it is; yes I am an ass…guess whose business it is…and so on. For me it is both empowering and also liberating. I can only imagine that at a certain point you get sick of having your every move and life scrutinized. You never proclaimed to be anything other than what you were but the system wants to put you into this box. I can only imagine him enjoying playing this as much as a band like Rage Against the Machine enjoyed playing “Killing in the Name” or other such mantras of proclamation. Finally we reach our promised land. The namesake song and the true culmination of all his thoughts. He proclaims some of the hells he has seen but he comes to a conclusion that is both inspiring and beautiful:
But remember the princess who lived on the hill
Who loved you even though she knew you was wrong
And right now she just might come shining through
and the glory of love, glory of love
Glory of love, just might come through
I think we can all learn something about how our Coney Island Baby has helped us see that the world is indeed a funny place but that the glory of love has shone through even still. So let’s raise a glass to all of our Coney Island Babies…whatever shape, size, color or sex they came in; they truly made us laugh at the world. The only glass that I could raise to this is something stiff and spectacular. Time for a glittery Martini – and all the people rejoiced!”
- 2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
- 1 oz Martini Original French Dry Vermouth
- 1 dash Orange Bitters
- 1 pinch Edible Glitter
- Stir/Strain into your favorite martini glass and garnish w/ lemon twist or olive…or both! Just don’t forget the GLITTER!
Nonprofit: No Us Without You (“I love what the Va’la Hospitality boys are doing. And I love my LA family.”)