If you have any interest at all in making proper drinks, buy a set of proper tools.
The Montmartre was Hollywood’s first big night club — somewhere where, even during Prohibition, a drink and a bit of gambling were a sure thing. It quickly became the most publicized club in the country. Valentino, Tom Mix — even Winston Churchill — were seen at the Montmartre. Even so, we’re not fans of the original Montmartre cocktail featured in “Hollywood Cocktails”. Instead, we’ve turned the drink into a way-too-easy-to-drink milk punch that’s pink and sweet but never let’s you forget that you’re drinking booze.
Opened in 1930 adjacent to the Montmartre, the Embassy Club maintained a private membership list of 300, including Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson. By excluding the gawking public, the Embassy Club failed, pulling down the once-popular Montmartre (same owners) with it.
It’s time again for the Academy Awards, and this year, Fox’s Studio 11 in Los Angeles has asked us to present two drinks (or three, if the band doesn’t prematurely play us off) perfect for Oscar night. We take our inspiration this year from the Golden Age of Hollywood and the nightclubs which kept all of your favorite star well lubricated, particularly during Prohibition.
All three drinks we’ve whipped up are modernizations of house-favorites as captured a “Temperance” Town era tome, “Hollywood Cocktails”. This one comes from the Cocoanut Grove, located in the now-gone Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Blvd. Not only was the Cocoanut Grove a favorite hangout for the stars, it hosted six Academy Awards ceremonies from 1930 to 1943.
It goes without saying that New Year’s and Champagne go together like good intentions and broken resolutions. If you’re looking for a way to make things a little more interesting than just popping the cork on the bubbly, we suggest the following:
1.5 oz Pusser’s Rum
1.5 oz Agua de Tamarindo (recipe below)
3 – 4 oz Club Soda, to top
Add all ingredients to a collins glass with ice
Garnish with a lime wedge
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Without tequila among our bottles, you might be inclined to think that 12 Bottle Bar would sit out Cinco de Mayo. In fact, when we’ve asked the experts, a few of them have suggested that we replace one of our bottles with one from south of the border. While we certainly love tequila (in particular, great mezcals), we hold to the belief that its use in classic cocktails is limited. Besides, if you’re craving a taste of Mexico, there are so many other beverages to explore – like agua de tamarindo.