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Food & Drink
How to Make Your Season Bright: Indulgent Holiday Cocktails
2013-12-13 12:24:02
By Carole Dixon

Warm Fuzzies from The Wallace in Culver City

When you’re not tucking into the whole beast feast at Hotel Erwin’s Barlo Kitchen + Cocktails in Venice this season – think pig head, goat leg and whole trout; or sampling the $500 milkshake at the Powder Room bar in Hollywood, try these inventive winter cocktails from a few of our favorite haunts that have recently opened around town to keep the winter chill at bay.

The Wallace
New to Culver City, this communal table and small plates eatery resembles a rustic yet elegant warehouse style open kitchen space where you also have the option of tucking into a private table for the jarred food menu. Standouts from Chef Michael Teich (formerly of SBE and Axe), include the duck rillettes with goat cheese and blue cheese dips with potato chips which we think will go well at the bar into football season. There is a large veggie section but we leaned toward the grilled Greek octopus with piquillo peppers and the shrimp-chickpea pancake with grilled leeks and harissa aioli. Roasted bone marrow comes in smaller pieces here for the squeamish and tender short rib ravioli is drizzled with parmesan butter. What we also discovered is one of the best winter cocktails in town called the 'Warm Fuzzies' which you can only find on the dessert menu (right below the salted caramel pudding with dulce de leche.) The drink is a frothy blend of Blackwell rum, Spanish brandy, cynar, lemon, egg and nutmeg that should keep a warm glow on you all season.

Trattoria Neapolis
This stunning dining room on Lake Avenue in Pasadena is perfect for a holiday event with a private wine room upstairs, but if you’re weary from shopping and just want to pop in for a happy hour from 3-6pm during the week, we recommend you try the crispy hot Italian chicken wings or the pumpkin pizza from the wood burning oven flown in from Naples. Be sure to end with the house made eggnog cocktail and if you’d like to recreate the bourbon buzz at home, please follow this recipe below.

Santa’s Little Helper

12 fresh organic eggs
            1lb sugar
            1/2 gallon milk
            1/2 heavy whipping cream
            3/4 liter fresh pear puree
            1 liter bourbon
            1 teaspoon nutmeg
            1 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon

Separate egg whites from yolk.  In a mixer beat yolks and sugar.  Slowly mix in milk and cream to prevent curdling.  Combine fresh pear, bourbon, nutmeg, and cinnamon into mix and stir.  In separate bowl beat egg whites.  Then add egg whites to main mixture and whisk.  Chill and serve. Top with freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg.

Plan Check
Matthew Biancaniello is the mixologist that never sleeps and his latest gig includes creating an array of cocktails for the new Plan Check on Fairfax – they are already known for one of the best burgers in town, friend chicken, salmon pastrami, crazy delicious cruller donuts and soon one of the top drinks in town: a pre-batched Negroni using equal parts Campari, Carpano Antica, and Plymouth Gin, which is infused with white truffle from Alba for 4 - 7 days.  While that tipple is being perfected, Biancaniello has whipped up a sinful holiday drink called the ‘Umami Eggnog’ using 2 parts candy cap, mushroom infused Buffalo Trace bourbon with 2 ounces of white truffle infused organic heavy cream, one once of agave, a whole egg, shaken up, double strained in a glass with no ice, then you can top it off with shaved truffles or coffee beans or chocolate. After a few of these you might want to sign up for a new gym membership pronto.

Clover Juice = Healthy Cocktails
If you’re feeling a little lactose intolerant from all the egg nog concoctions, and rich libations this season, Matthew Biancaniello has created a few genius ‘healthy’ drinks based on the Clover juicing trend. Clover is located on LaBrea and also just outside the Churchill with a walk-up window.  While Biancaniello loves their green kale based blend, he has paired the spicy gingersnap for this recipe below, and the natural sugar means you won’t have a hangover the next day either. It’s a win-win.

The Clover Snap

2 oz Hophead Vodka
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz bay leaf infused honey syrup
2 oz Clover 'Gingersnap' 
Pinch of cinnamon

Mix all together and shake and double strain into a coup without ice

Honey syrup; 3 cups honey to one cup water and 4 bay leaves crumbled in. Bring to a boil. Stir until honey completely dissolves in water. Turn off heat and let it sit for two hours to cool

Garnish with a whole slice of apple.