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Wednesday
Jan052011

Stepping it up for 2011 

As you all know we had an insane December.  I've not found anytime to write, but some how Mr. Driscoll pulls it off - honestly I've been exhausted I really don't know how he does it.  Anyway, I'm feeling renewed and refreshed after a completely mind blowing holiday season.  We've got some great news regarding some very special bottles coming in from private collections.  This includes the ridiculously rare Ladyburn 12 year (for a "reasonable" price), Glen Garioch 37 year Bicentennial, very old Dallas Dhu and even older Longmorn.  We'll post all the details as the whisky arrives.  Otherwise, as Driscoll stated in Whisky News 1/4/11, we've selected a new Four Roses Cask.  I'm really excited because we've found another great barrel and it's again a totally different recipe than previous batches.  Each of our three barrels from Four Roses have been completely different and absolutely rockin'!

The Ten Versions of Four Roses Obviously, this was a tough day at the office!  David & I lead a blessed life and would like to thank all of you who make this possible, both on the production and consumption side.  We truly are lucky to be part of this exciting industry, employed by this great company, surrounding by all these amazing people.  Thank you all for making this possible. 

While I was slammed here in LA for most of December, I did find time to frequent a bar that I've been meaning to go to for years.

The Griffin in Atwater Village has a great selection and an unpretentious vibe.  There is a dress code, which is strictly enforced.  I actually saw them turn away a guy in an Ed Hardy t-shirt.  This scores big points in my book (I guess the dress code is "NO ED HARDY" because the guy got right in after flipping his shirt).  Their only problem is the relative indifference to mixing a cocktail properly.  While the staff is attractive and genuine, they are seemingly too cool to put any actual effort into making a proper drink. 

A very boring Old FashionI was shocked to see Rittenhouse Rye behind the bar and equally astounded when I found they only use Martini & Rossi Vermouth.  Luckily for me the bartender used the vermouth like she was making a dry martini, barely a drop of the stuff hit the shaker.  Cold Rittenhouse with a dash of angostura is actually a fine drink. It's just so interesting how bars go half the distance.  Are they trying to save money?  Is it just a lack of knowledge or expertise?  All it takes is one trip to one of LA's (few) top cocktail bars to know what you're missing.  I commend them for having a relatively interesting selection of Single Malts, including some nice bottles from Signatory and many of the big names that are missing at most LA's other bars.

A nice placement from our friends at JVSThey also have some excellent American Whiskies available at reasonable prices.  That's why doing 'partial' bugs me so much.  It's hard enough to find a decent pour in LA, why not go the extra mile?  Buy some proper Vermouth, get some good cherries, teach your bartenders when and how to stir/shake and how to mix some classics properly.  They've already made the investment to carry unique top shelf spirits, if they spent a bit more money on the extras and some training this could be one of LA's best bars.

That's Van Winkle and Stagg!!!Anyway,  as you can see by the selection this a great place to order your drinks neat, skip the shaker.  That's actually a big deal for LA...sad, but true. 

My New Year's resolution was to drink better so just want to rub it in a little.  I spent my New Year's Eve polishing off several bottles Gigondas, Launois Special Club and a bottle of this...

OG New Year's Dinner and 25 Year Pineau

Paul & Marie's 25 Year Pineau Des Charentes is on of the finest desert wines/spirit I've had of any kind at any price range.  Needless to say, I SHOCKED some very experienced drinkers at my table when I pulled this one out.  The freshness is astounding.  The depth of savory and sweet are endless.  A bit of sherry funk.  A racing acidity ties it all together.  Truly one of the finest products ever to pass through my palate.  If you like desert wines at all or thought about buying this even for one second please do it NOW.  We keep saying it cause it's true.  You have to taste this to believe it.  Supplies are very low.  We've got 12 bottles coming into Hollywood this week.  Happy New Year!  Keep drinking better.

-David OG

Reader Comments (2)

I have noticed the half distance / partial approach at a few places in SF too. I blame the owners / managers. You need to instill Steve Jobs like terror in your bartenders if your not hiring the kind of folks where a consistently well balanced cocktail isn't par for the course. A few spots are obviously along for the ride, rising tides n all. Others are just frustrating - for example Nihon. I was excited to frequent the whisk(e)y haven often when I moved to the neighborhood only to find consistently unbalanced expensive drinks over 3 visits. Bummer. At least the grub was tasty. Recent openings like Bar Agricole, Comstock Saloon and Hog & Rocks make it hard to half-arse it and get away with it.

January 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Baum

Some decent food can make up for a lot. Maybe it's harder than it seems to pull off a proper bar, but if I had committed myself to something like this I'd want it to be perfect.

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid OG

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