One of L.A.'s most recognizable grand dames turns 100 on Saturday May 12 and marks the occasion with a $100 commemorative cocktail and movie star themed cocktail list. 10 special "These Walls are Talking" cocktails, available at the hotel's off-lobby Bar Nineteen12 and the Polo Lounge, salute the Beverly Hills Hotel's most notable former guests from silent film star Mary Pickford (once a neighbor) to Marilyn Monroe who filmed Let's Make Love with Yves Montand in bungalows 20 and 21.
The Beverly Hills Hotel does look pretty great for its age: Constant upkeep and several facelifts have kept the hotel in top form. The pathways are still carpeted, the landscaping is lush, and bungalows are decadently outfitted at the "Pink Palace," which boasts a century of celebrity connections. Undeniably pricey, the 100 Year Sidecar (priced at $100 before tax and tip) is a variation on the classic. Gold flakes rim the engraved coupe. Drink up, as the glass is yours to take home. Better be, at that price.
Sip the blend of Hennessy XO cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice in the 100 Year Sidecar slowly before perusing the rest of the specialty cocktail list. (Cocktail math is often fuzzy. A bottle of XO retails for $200 and is $36 neat by-the-glass at Spago -- but $100?) Developed by the hotel's beverage director Rob Rouleau, each anniversary drink comes with a bit of history. The potent Pickfair Punch is a mix of Hennessy VS cognac, Grand Marnier, orange and lemon juice topped with Moet champagne. Monroe gets her due via The Norma Jean: A glass of Dom Perignon champagne for $86.
Reaching back to the 1940s, the Old Fashioned Rebel (Rebel Yell bourbon, sugar, muddled bourbon-infused cherry and orange, and a touch of Angostura bitters) acknowledges Marlene Dietrich, who famously wore pants (shocking!) to the Polo Lounge, verboten back in the day. 30-year resident Howard Hughes gets The Aviator named after him. Served up, there's Tanqueray gin, Crème Yvette and Maraschino liqueurs, shaken with lemon juice in this concoction.
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For many years Elizabeth Taylor's father owned an art gallery in the hotel; she must have cherished that connection as she stayed in the hotel with six of her eight husbands. Violet Eyes, featuring Crème de Violette liqueur, is garnished with a tropical frangipani flower. The celebratory drinks are available until the end of the year. Modern stars who've been known to hang out at the hotel, Brad Pitt and Leonard DiCaprio for instance, don't make the list -- perhaps they'll earn a branded cocktail for the 150th anniversary.
Each week the hotel is surprising some very lucky diners with a neat trick: Their bill is converted to 1912 pricing and the tab shrinks down to, on average, $3 to $5. Happy 100th birthday indeed.
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