It is not about the Glass

It is about what is in the glass, hand crafted farmers market cocktails with house made ingredients.


ImageHoney Bee
2 Oz Damrak Gin
1 1/2 oz Blended Honey Dew melon
1/2 oz lime
1 Oz Honey ( I use 2 parts honey 1 part water)
2 Basil leaves ( 1 to muddle 1 for garnish)
Couple of drops of Angostura bitters
Start out with muddling one of the basil leaves with an ice cube until everything turns to a green slush. Add Damrak gin, Honey Dew, Lime, and Honey shake with ice and strain into Tom Collins Glass.
Add crushed ice till almost full at the top. Add a few drops of Angostura bitters, use a swizzle stick to move it around put some more crushed ice on top, and garnish with a big basil leave.
This drink is named after my wife, the hardest thing about a drink is coming up with the name. But what easier than calling it after the nickname I have for her. Putting this cocktail together was a smooth process. Javier, our Chef the Cuisine had some Honey Dew Melons left and asked me if I could use them. Me always up for a challenge accepted of course. I juiced melons before, but I was worried to loose the delicate taste, so I tried making a puree instead. This turned to be nothing more than deseeding it and a push of the button. Now the liquor, I wanted to up the body a bit, but not too much, no tequila or bourbon, a logical step was gin. I like Damrak, first of all because I like everything Dutch. Did I tell you I am from there? But most of all it has a soft taste with hints of citrus, making it lighter than the full herbal English gins, preventing the loss of taste in the melon. The extra layer had to be esthetically pleasing as well, a drink can’t look like crap. The visual part limit’s the list of ingredients I can possibly use, but the warm flavors of the Basil seem hardly a compromise. The lime opens up the drink, the honey was the only logical sweetener, the name gave that one away.
Once I put all the ingredients together, I thought there was room for one more layer. The Angostura bitters.

Oriole – Galliano Competition


So yes it has finally come to this, I joined a competition. I couldn’t help my self between celebrity weddings, making cocktails for the president and running the bar program at Lucques and at Tavern I joined a competition. So I need your help.
I have it up on my wall and I need you to click “like it” and leave a reply and vote for me. 😉
Thank you so much,
Farmers Market Mixology combined with 1970’s drinking. I love working with Galliano, mixed it with Genever before works really well. But the constraints of the contest gave it a whole new challange. I kept the Rum & Galliano as the base of the cocktail. Instead of banana liquor I found beautiful Nectarines out of Santa Paula on the farmers market which hold up in the cocktail. I make my own house blood orange bitters which I replaced the orange juice with, and as a final touch. Instead of pineapple I used Muscato D’asti to bring everything together. A beautiful summer drink.
The name of your bar:LUCQUES

Cocktail RecipeOriole

1 1/2 oz Cruzan Rum
3/4 oz Galliano L’Autentico
1/4 oz Home Made Blood Orange Bitters
2 oz Nectarine Puree (Nectarines in a blender with Lemon, Orange & Simple Syrup)
1 oz Muscato D’asti
2 blood orange slices & mint for garnish

Put the ingredients, Rum, Galliano, Bitters, Puree in a shaker with ice, stir until cold.
Put the Muscato in a collins glass, add the content of the shaker to the glass and it should pretty much top it off.
Slide the blood orange wheels in on the side for looks, and the mint on top for color.

The Rebel

I love the name “Rebel”, let a lone ” THE Rebel”, I had a similar version with Rittenhouse Rye for a while called “The Rittenhouse Rebel”. One of the key ingredients is Citrus and citrus season is upon us. I have seen the first kumquats at Garcia farms and they taste amazing. I have another cool drink but I will save that for next week.
This drink has infusions brought from the mother land, licorice wood infusion. Normally I call it sweet wood which would a straight translation out of Dutch, but I don’t want to turn off people with the ingredients. Yes the picture is what it looks like, you just break them a little and put them in a bottle with some Vodka. Let it stand for a day or so and voila. It is not something you would drink by itself because it has some potent flavoring but as an extra layer in a drink, shabeng.
Okay so this drink has all the elements I like to use. Something original (infusion) something seasonal (orange juice) and something classic (eggwhites).
There is nothing weird about it or complicated, Bourbon, Lemon, Orange (Blood Orange in another week or so because, because man I love those oranges), a drop of simple, the Sweet Wood infusion and some eggwhites. When you shake this drink, and you have to shake it hard add the spring of your strainer to the mix. It will be used as an egg beater and it will add to the frothiness of your cocktail. Strain it into a martini glass. And you have yourself a cocktail.
The Rebel

2 oz Bourbon
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 0z Lemon
1/4 oz Sweet Wood Infusion
1/4 oz Simple
1/4 oz Egg White
Mint Garnish
Shake it Vigorously untill your shaker is cold and strain it into a Martini Glass.
The Rebel

The Aged Appaloosa

The toughest part of coming up with a cocktail is the name. So we have an Apple drink, right on, squeeze fresh apple juice carrot juice cellery juice. What cellery? Yes it is the classic combination that binds apple juice and carrot juice. And by the way there is a lot of juice coming out of a cellery stick. You don’t have to use much just a little, just the extra layer you are looking for in a cocktail. But now everybody is thinking do I want juice or do I want a cocktail. So the next part is trick Dick. What’s the spirit, vodka falls flat, gin … it still is not there. Tequila will overpower it, so how about the smooth taste of Rum? Aged, Brown or White let’s do both, grab an empty bottle fill it half way up with aged have up with white add one and a half Tahitian vanilla been and let it sit for a while. So now I have all the ingredients for the cocktail we still have to feel out how much of everything and what should I call it. The Carrot the Apple Garden the twisted something the the, lets put it in wikipedia apple and carrot what comes up? A bunch of health drinks and that’s about it, if you go further down the line you’ll find zoo’s as well. Any how to make a long story short Aged for the rum and Appaloosa for the love of veggies.

Here we go final recipe:

2 oz of infused rum
1/2 oz Carrot juice
1/2 oz Cellery juice
1 oz Apple Juice
1 oz Apple syrup (Apple Juice and Sugar)
1/2 oz Lemon
Shake it with ice and dump it in a collins glass. Put some apple slices against the glass for presentation and yippie ay yay you have an amazing looking drink.


The Danielewski

The Danielewski aka The Moscow Margarita aka The Roasted Beet Margarita aka Number Fourty Three. When my friend, writer and fellow-worldcup-watching-at-4-in-the-morning Mark Z. Danielewski turned 44 he organized a little party at Lucques. 10 People would fill the ten seats at our bar, followed by a lot of people for drinks. Question was to come up with three drinks for this special event. He only gave me three things to keep in consideration 1.- he likes Tequila 2.- he likes scotch. Than I wondered ” Hey Mark what is #3?” “Oh yeah my friend Johnathan Gold is one of the ten for dinner at the bar.”

What I didn’t realize until after I spoke to my GM is that Jonathan Gold is kind of a big deal in the food industry. He is considered one of the top notch and first food critic to win the Pulitzer Price. And even me not being from here had to admit….Woooowww. Okay Okay no sweat he is just coming to celebrate his buddy’s birthday. He is not coming to write an article about the restaurant or the cocktails in the restaurant. But still, I don’t want him to think anything but top notch when it comes to Lucques.

Okay back to consideration #1, tequila fresh lime juice and cointreau the perfect margarita. Can’t do that because it has been done before. So I took one of my inspirational strolls through the food walk in. Tons of fresh produce, herbs, sauces, looked around in the pastry section when my eye fell on a beet a beautiful red beet. Wouldn’t that be cool a bright red drink. With smokeyness of tequila, earth tones of the beet.
So I went to the sous chef for a quick lesson in roasting beets. Make sure if you try this at home to use a small piece, maybe an eight of the beet because it is very overpowering. So I had the base for the drink, but it was missing something, an extra layer. Ras el hanout was the answer, there are as many recipees as there are spice traders. Mine is based on the spices we use in the kitchen and it works beautiful with the cocktail.

The Danielewski

2 Oz Tequila
1 Oz Lime
1/2 Oz Simple
1/2 Oz Home Made Orange Liquor
dash of Ras El Hanout
Small piece of Roasted Beet

Muddle the Beet and Ras El Hanout together with an ice cube. Add the other ingredients, shake, shake, shake. And strain over fresh ice.

The Perfect Mojito

It is Saturday night the Lucques is full every table is booked, the bar is full, and the cocktail machine keeps ringing. It is that super loud printing sound with which the ticket anounces itself to the world “Here I am” To me it sounds more like Jack Nickolson famouse line “Here is Johnny” Anyhow ticket after ticket cocktails and more cocktails. When suddenly the most dreadful ticket comes up 2 Mojito’s table xyz. It is not that I have a problem making mojito’s or I dislike the drink.  I love making mojito’s but my thing with mojito’s is, they need extra extra love. MUCHO EXTRA LOVE. And I feel it in my gut “Heeeeeeere is Johnny”

Everybody makes a mojito the same way, everybody has the same ingredients, Rum, lime, mint, sugar and a drop of soda water. But not everybody gives it the love it deserves premix any one? Who in their right mind would use premix for a Mojito? Just say “I don’t do mojitos”, or “I am allergic to mint”, or just say “they are above my paygrade”

So I grab my two shakers, can only make one at the time or if you can shake double handed you can do two throw some mint, lime wedges (the oil of the rine is what does it for me) two raw sugar cubes together and some ice. I know some people just press the mint delicately but forget about that I want bolt flavors which come together in the glass. I add an ice cube why and muddle the S*#@T out of it, just so the sugar is crushed the mint is ripped apart and the lime wedges are not being seen anymore. Add the white rum little bit of extra juice little bit of extra simple. Rock and Roll, shake does shakers double handed so the guy in the back knows they are coming. Grabbed my Tom Collins glasses added some soda. Better on the bottom than on the top. I don’t want the first zip to taste like watered down lime juice. Soda goes on the bottom so when I empty my shakers it mixes right away.

Couple of hours later the waiter came back to my and said those Mojito’s you made. Ry Cooder thinks they are the SHIT. I mean this is the guy from Buena Vista Social Club, the guy who spends more time in Cuba than than. Okay okay you got me I was exited I was a dork, but thanks for the compliment Ry Cooder.


The Perfect Mojito

2 raw sugar cubes
2 lime wedges
10 mint leaves
1 ice cube
2 Oz Rum
1/2 Oz Lime Juice
1/2 Oz Simple
1/2 Oz Soda Water

Muddle the sugar cubes, wedges, mint and the 1 ice cube together. I mean crush them together would be a better way. Add the Rum, lime juice and simple to it. And Shake it till your hand is about to freeze to your shakers. Put soda in a Tom Collins Glass and add the whole shaker in there.

Tip: Don’t do it for a party, you will be muddling all night long.


The Triple Trader

Seasons are changing and peaches are definitely gone. But more exiting fruits are coming, Guava and Passion Fruit. The exotic tastes make you more feel like summer on the Bahamas’ than Fall in LA. Hitting the triple digits here last week, maybe it is the same after all. But lets built an exotic cocktail. What are we going to start with? Passion fruit it is, sorry Guava lovers did one last year so time for something new.
Okay so passion fruit, some exotic syrup, some lemon and a mint garnish. The question will be what spirit to use, rum, tequila or my favorite Sagatiba Cachaca.
The fruit is kind of weird the wrinklier the skin looks the sweeter they become. So find one that is a bit wrinkly but has firm skin when you cut it. Take a spoon and scoop the gewy stuff you find inside out. It is the most flavorful fruit you will ever taste. Throw it in your mixing glass add your cachaca and try it. Time to add some layers to it. Nobody like a cocktail with out depth.
The syrup I chose is called Velvet Falernum. And of course we make this from scratch. Take some almonds and make some milk from them. Yes you can milk almonds. 🙂 Add some ginger juice, cloves, lime wheels and a bunch of sugar (remember 3 parts sugar two parts fluid).
Add this to your mixing glass. The next part is a little bit more time consuming I wanted to add an extra layer of liquor, an orange rum liquor to be precise. It is a bit time consuming but very doable.
Add some fresh OJ for color ice shake it hard. And you have yourself a cocktail.
The Tipple Trader
1/2 Passion Fruit
2 Oz Sagatiba Cachaca
1/2 Oz House made Velvet Falernum
1/2 Oz House made Orange Rum liquor
1 Oz Lemon Juice
1/2 Oz Orange Juice

The Grapevine

The never ending question what is in season was going through my head. A brief talk with the Lucques Pastry Chef Christina Olufson gave me a lot to think about, Apples Pears they are all coming but what’s really booming right now is grapes. Ever made a grape cocktail? Why make some thing more perfect, I mean the French gave us wine how about that for a grape cocktail? Back to the drawing board. Juice some seedless organic Thompson grapes put them in a blender strain them and you have grape juice and I am not talking the one you buy in the store for 50 cents and taste like plastic with sugar. This stuff has hints of Vanilla and beautiful texture, and it is pure grape nothing else.
Okay now we have juice what should we mix with it? Gin, the herbal bouquets of gin, better idea; I think Damrak Gin would be killer. The soft citrus flavor mixed with gin. Add an extra layer with, with, with how about James Birche’s Wild Arugala. Make a simple syrup, put a couple of quarts of arugala in a blender add some simple (3 parts sugar 2 parts water) fine strain it. And you thought the grape juice was good.
Let’s refresh we have Gin, Grape Juice and Arugala Simple, all right we need some citrus to open it up some beautiful Limes from Peter Schaner. Now we have your basic cocktail, it is missing a few extra layers, but we have the base. Please find below the final recipe.

The Grapevine
2 Oz of Damrak Gin
1 1/2 Oz of Grape Juice
3/4 Oz of Arugala Simple
1/2 Oz of Lime Juice
1/4 Oz of Persian Cucumber Juice
Absinth Rinse
Put it all together in a shaker, shake shake shake.
Rinse a martini glass with Absinth and discard it, no nothing to be afraid of you won’t be hallucinating, dancing on the table and not remembering stuff. Okay strain your cocktail into the glass and you have a cocktail with a capital C. You will be able to taste the grape, the gin, the cucumber, the arugala and the absinth. All the layers come together without overpowering one an other. Enjoy.

The Lambic

My first beer was a Lambic. We were 16 years on Holiday on a small island of the coast of the Netherlands. Astonishment was on my friends faces when a coke would suffice. “What you don’t like beer?” “Have you tried all beers?” “There has to be a beer you like.” I finally settled for a Lambic, a cherry beer. Now 20 years later and many different drinks and beers later. I was aked to come up with a beer cocktail. The beer cocktails out there didn’t really appeal to me, Scotch and beer? Vodka and beer? Maybe I would have to think a bit out side the box. And than I remembered my days as a teen and my first beer. So I came up with my version of the Lambic. Seasonal raspberries, a little home made Fennel syrup, a little bit of OJ, and a couple of Oz of beer.

The recipe below can make you 6 – 7 cocktails.

Lucques Lambic
1 Basket of Raspberries (0.35 Lbs)
3 Oz Fennel Syrup * (3parts sugar 2parts water and Fennel Seeds, bring to a boil take it off and strain)
1 Oz Lemon Juice
1 Oz OJ
18 – 21 oz Beer (Lager is preferred)
Double Old Fashion Glass
1 Lime
Make a puree of the ingredients by putting the Raspberries, Fennel Syrup, Lemon Juice and OJ in a blender. Bring it from low to high speed.

Take your Double Old Fashion Glass fill it to the rim with ice.
Take a shaker throw a few ice cubes in here it will prevent the cocktail from foaming. Add 1.5 Oz of your premix and 3 Oz of your Lager together in your mixer what ever you do, do not shake it. Softly strain it in to the glass. Cut a few lime wheels as a garnish.

It is not about the glass! By Christiaan Rollich

It is not about the glass. Yes I know, don’t get upset, I know sometimes it is about the glass. Nothing like letting a beautiful Rhone open in a big hand blown glass. But we are talking cocktails here so no fancy wines in fancy glasses or scotches with one gigantic ice cube. It is not about the specialty glass and the specialty ice. It is about what’s in it and how you made it. It is about the farmers market inspired hand crafted cocktail made with house made ingredients. Made with your own syrups,  your own infusions,  your own schnaps and bitters and vermouth. Because everything you put in your labor-of-love-cocktail is made from scratch. Experiment try out new stuff go to the drawing board and go to the drawing boar again. Visit your local farmers market talk to them see what’s in season taste it and let your imagination fly. Try things that haven’t been tried before. Share your knowledge, somebody shared it with you. Never feel to good to learn, ask a lot of question. Why why why. And if you are worried your ice will be diluting the drink I have an idea. “Drink faster.”

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