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Cocktails

Planet Dailies and Mixology101 Opens Today + A Recipe for the Spicy Fifty

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Head bartender Joseph Brooke with the Secret Handshake - B. HANSEN
  • B. Hansen
  • Head bartender Joseph Brooke with the Secret Handshake
You've shopped the Grove till your brain can't tell boots from a bra. You've pushed your way through the Original Farmers Market, too. Let's face it. You need a drink. Starting today, you can get it at Planet Dailies and Mixology101.

You'll climb a long flight of stairs (let's hope you don't have too many bundles) to an airy, glass-paneled space where you'll quickly forget the hassle below.

You can collapse onto comfy couches in the outdoor lounge or go inside to the bar, where you'll wonder how more than 300 bottles can be stacked so high. This wall of liquor has everything for the restorative you need.

Let head bartender Joseph Brooke prescribe. He'll choose from the cocktails created for Mixology101 by Salvatore Calabrese of the bar Salvatore at the Playboy Club London. Known in the bar world as The Maestro, Calabrese came here to celebrate the opening and mix a few drinks himself.

You might start with a Secret Handshake, not an insider's grip but a cheerful orange blend of pureed cantaloupe, blood orange juice, Aperol and "some other stuff," meaning it really is secret.

If you prefer something clean and to the point, ask for the martini that Calabrese calls "the most wonderful martini in the world." Fine points are freezing the glass and the gin, floating extra-dry Vermouth on top, squeezing a lemon twist over the glass and wafting lemon peel back and forth in the drink like a swizzle stick.

click to enlarge The outdoor lounge, photographed from the bar - B. HANSEN
  • B. Hansen
  • The outdoor lounge, photographed from the bar
The Farmers Market location inspired the blue-tinted Farmers Martini, which is supposed to mirror the blue-green gas (did you need to know this?) given off by the oil wells that once studded the area.

As frothy as a cancan, the Hollywood Bubble is pink from pomegranate juice and raspberry puree, fizzy with Champagne and has a raspberry on the rim.

You missed breakfast? Then there's the breakfast martini, which includes orange marmalade. The only brand Calabrese will use is Wilkin & Sons Crystal Orange Fine Cut Marmalade from England.

His latest drink is The Spicy Fifty, created for his own birthday. In the rush of getting ready for a pre-opening party, the Thai chiles that spice the drink had been forgotten. So bartender Quinn Johnson leaped onto his motorcycle, sped to the Bangkok Market and raced back with a stash in his backpack.

There'll be plenty on hand for today's opening. And plenty of food, too, because you'd better not drink on an empty stomach. Executive chef Adrian Tenorio's take on California flavors includes chicken and avocado sliders, fish tacos, Tex-Mex egg rolls, Szechuan eggplant, tempura shrimp, crab and lobster cakes, nachos and fried calamari.

To find the place, look for the "Mixology" sign on the second floor above Bath & Body Works, where the Farmers Market meets The Grove. If you don't drink, you can go anyway. There's a non-alcoholic menu.

click to enlarge The Spicy Fifty - B. HANSEN
  • B. Hansen
  • The Spicy Fifty
The Spicy Fifty

Makes: 1 drink

1 ½ ounces vanilla vodka

½ ounce elderflower liqueur

½ ounce fresh lime juice

Dash honey

2 Thai chiles

1. Combine the vodka, liqueur, lime juice, honey and 2 or 3 thin strips of Thai chile in a shaker with ice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a stemmed glass. Partially slit the remaining chile and place on the rim of the glass.


Read more from Barbara Hansen at www.eatmx.com, www.tableconversation.com, @foodandwinegal and Facebook.

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