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Tinseltown Toasts: The Cocoanut Grove


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.

The Cocoanut Grove
2 1/2 ounces Dry Gin
1/4 ounce
dry vermouth
1/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1 teaspoon roasted pineapple syrup


1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass 2. Fill the glass 2/3 full with ice cubes and stir the drink vigorously for 30 seconds 3. Strain into a martini glass 4. Garnish with a pineapple wedge


Roasted Pineapple Syrup

1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons light brown or raw sugar, such as Demerara
2 cups white sugar
1 cup water


1. Combine the pineapple and brown sugar in a large sauté pan and toss the pineapple in the sugar to coat it evenly.

2. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the edges of the pineapple begin to turn golden and caramelize.

3. Remove pineapple from the heat and transfer to a large, heatproof bowl.

4. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the water and sugar.  Cook over the lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar completely dissolves.

5. Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it over the caramelized pineapple until the pineapple is fully covered. Allow the pineapple to cool to room temperature, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

6. Strain the mixture and reserve the liquid. Transfer the syrup to an airtight container and refrigerate. The syrup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 month.