*Post by Angela.
As you can see from our recent posts, one of our favorite things about the change in seasons is the ringing in of new seasonal cocktail menus. It's what all conscientious bar owners/managers do - a new season means new ingredients at farmers markets, shifting preferences of drinkers due to weather, etc. And Churchill owners Beau Laughlin and Brett Cranston have done their due diligence, bringing in Mia Sarazen to design the bar's fall cocktails.
Sarazen brings her experience working at some of LA's top watering holes (The Tasting Kitchen, Harvard & Stone, Black Market Bar, etc.) to the Churchill's new cocktail list. The 12 new drinks are designed to allow the imbiber the opportunity to 'choose their own adventure' with a mix of concoctions aimed to please a wide range of drinkers.
Sarazen's focus on providing options is clear from our first drink. The base for the Rye 2 Ways is Bulleit Rye, dry vermouth, grenadine, and lemon is a nice drink for those with a bit of a sweet tooth. But the 2nd option, with the addition of Allagash White (below, right) is our preference, with the beer taking the bite off the rye while complimenting the citrus in the base.
We contrast the lighter Rye 2 Ways with the next selection in our round of drinks. The Churchill Old Fashioned (below, center), with Old Fitzgerald bourbon, house bitters, and sugar, is a serious drink, a masculine drink, the kind of glass you want to sip with a cigar in hand. While based on a bar mainstay, the house bitters add a touch of spice that elevates Sarazen's version.
With our lighter and heavier needs met this round, we move on to a more balanced option, one of our favorites of the night, the Thirsty in LA (below, right) named after popular LA cocktail blogger Daniel Djang. This combination of Correlejo Reposado, Aperol, and Ciociaro Amaro, with a mezcal rinse, gives us a bit of smoke, a bit of bitter, a bit of citrus and a lot of lovely.
The Bulldog (below, left) provides an option for those seeking to satisfy more tropical tastes. Combining serrano infused Milagro blanco with passion, pineapple, and lime, the Bulldog is actually legit spicy, but tempered by sweetness. The Bulldog's more agressive bite might make it our favorite drink of the night.
The Rye 2 Ways (below, center) served up with a lemon garnish is the other way to enjoy the Bulleit cocktail. But when compared side-by-side, the tall and fizzy version with Allagash White proves to be our preferred sipper of the two.
Baby's First Bourbon (below, right), with Bulleit Bourbon, orgeat, lemon, and house bitters, isn't quite self-explanatory, but it's close. This is a good beginners' bourbon drink, with the sweet orgeat taking the bite of the liquor.
The Statesman (below, right) is a true autumn drink, mixing Famous Grouse, apricot, lemon, and baked apple bitters with carbonation - all the spices and flavors and sparkle of the holidays.
Like Baby's First Bourbon, the Hyde Park Fizz (below, center), with Nolet’s gin, Bonal Quina, honey, lime, cucumber, basil, and soda is a good starter drink for those not sure about gin - a tiny bit of sweetness and fizz combat the quinine flavor of the spirit.
The Grapes of Wrath (below, right), with Kappa Pisco, lime, pineapple, egg whites, bitters, and cinnamon is another milder option, smooth and just a touch creamy.
After that round of milder drinks, the Grand Alliance (below, left) is a return to the substantial - Plymouth Gin dominates here, with subtle notes from the Carpano (vermouth), Campari, and Maraschino.
With the Iron Mule (below, center), ginger is the dominating flavor, with Russian Standard vodka with lime, soda playing supporting roles.
Norman's Cable Car (below, right), with Sailor Jerry Rum, housemade curacao, lemon, cinnamon & sugar rim, tastes like creamsicle.
The Churchill's drink list isn't the only thing getting a makeover. Executive Chef Bruce Kalman (The Misfit, Urbano Pizza Bar) launched a new 'rustic elegant' menu for the restaurant this week featuring Cali/Mediterranean dishes that we're definitely eager to try. Check back soon and we'll tell you how it was.
*Disclosure: This was a hosted tasting.
The Churchill - Mid-City West
8384 W 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Hours: Mon-Wed, Sun: 7:00a - 12:00a, Thu-Sat: 7:00a - 2:00a