HERMANO SEGUNDO BACK IN LA: SEVEN GRAND AND SUSAN'S TAGINE
In general terms, I despair about the quality of cocktail mixing in the US. They seem to be all about the portion size rather than the quality. The glasses barely chilled with a few lonely lumps of ice, the pre-made twists and the hefty glugs of alcohol, which may lead to a pleasing rapid oblivion, but have little sense of balance or subtlety.
So, when on my last visit to Los Angeles, I was introduced to Seven Grand, a relatively new bar downtown on the corner, as the name suggests, of 7th St and Grand, I was pleasantly surprised at what was presented in a bar with serious intentions.
With Sybil still hard at work, I deposited her car in the basement of her office and walked the few short blocks to pay Seven Grand another visit. The tartan carpet cladding the stairs tells you that this is a Whisky/Whiskey bar and the lengthy list of spirits from around the world added to the impressive back bar tell you that considerable thought has gone into their stock.
Normally, I would test the chops of any mixer by ordering a Martini. This being a Whisky bar, however, I fell back on my second choice of a Manhattan, which was well if not perfectly made. Leaving the chilled glass to stand while the mixer went in search of the cherry garnishes was a rookie mistake, but the end result was not bad at all.
Better was a Sazerac, the classic cocktail of New Orleans, made here in the later style with Rye whiskey rather than cognac, but still showing perfect balance of Peychaud bitters and whiskey in the chilled absinthe washed glass.
It was enough to tide me over until Sybil came to drag me out by the earlobes and take me to supper at my new friend, Susan’s house. She lived across in The Valley and, by the time we arrived, her adorable children were about ready for bed, which left the grown ups (and yes that includes me) to sit over plates of delicious Algerian Chicken tagine with triple steamed cous couse. That would have helped soak up the booze had we not sipped our way through two bottles of wine as we enjoyed a thoroughly splendid evening.
I only have two more days left before I leave LA and head back to the UK for my next adventure. I suspect for a whole load of reasons, it wont be long before I am planning my next visit