For this installation of Your Server's Other Job, Squid Ink presents Brian Summers. With a gravely voice that rises and falls to some kind of whacked-out metronome, it comes as no surprise to learn that in addition to creating cocktails at The Library bar at The Roosevelt Hotel, Summers is also a musician.
Sure, an L.A. bartender with a side project rock band is no big news flash, but what impresses is that he also has a solo project and both his cocktails and his music are a little left of center, and pretty darn good.
With his band Villains of Virtue, Summers sings and plays lead guitar, sporting the traditional rocker's garb of ripped jeans, worn-thin t-shirt and leather jacket. His center-stage stance feels honed, but honest as he channels his energy into pop/rock riffs and lyrics. Born and raised in The Valley, Summers has been playing guitar since he was 4 years old. “I kind of play, like, classic style on electric guitar. I don't care if anyone likes it.”
With his solo project, the chameleon Summers appears on stage much more subdued in his cocktailian hat and suspenders, sitting at the keyboards and singing like the bastard child of Justin Timberlake and Randy Newman, swaying and smiling even as the crowd yaps and yammers in the background.
For this past week's tequila competition at The Varnish, Brian created a drink called the Copa Karahi (“karahi meant to be the Hindu origin of the word curry”). Made with curry leaves, tequila, and ginger, Brian carved out tiny Meyer lemons and used them as vessels for his drink. The result was both and fragrant and tactile — the cup soft like a Floridian's lips followed by the pungent taste of tequila and snap of spice.
With asked what makes him tic Brian says, “Being creative. Anything I can plug away at and feel good about is my passion. I feel like I was blessed with talent and I'm just trying to make the most of what I was given.”
Check out the rock-n-roller/sensitive singer/songwriter/market-fresh cocktailian at The Library Bar at The Roosevelt Hotel Wednesday and Friday nights.
The Library Bar: 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 466-7000
From: Brian Summers
Makes: 1 drink
2 Meyer lemons
5-6 mint leaves
3/4 agave nectar with a hint of raw ginger juice
1/4 tsp. curry (adjust to taste)
2 oz. *tamarind infused 1800
1. Hallow out one Meyer lemon and set inside a coupe (or any small, narrow glass) to serve.
2. Cut the other Meyer lemon into four pieces.
3. Place the four lemon pieces into a cocktail shaker. Add mint, agave and curry.
5. Add 1800.
6. Shake all together with ice.
7. Pour into your Meyer lemon cup.
8. Garnish with curry leaves.
*To make tamarind infused 1800
15 tamarind pods
Bottle of 1800
1. Shell and peel the roots off the tamarind pods.
2. Place them in a large jar and pour the entire bottle of 1800 over it.
3. Let sit for two days, covereing the jar with foil to keep it out of the light.
4. Fine strain and pour back into bottle.