In my recent Los Angeles Magazine Digest blog post on the new Hollywood Walgreens I couldn’t help but gush about the Walgreens liquor section. Walgreens! I mean, it’s a drugstore which means you can pick up some toilet paper, toothpaste but also Cristal, cigars and Basil Hayden’s bourbon! Oh, and craft beer! But the one feature that I loved was its “Ask the Virtual Bartender” kiosk.
When I saw that its Crown Royal ad on the opening screen, I admit that I was skeptical. But after exploring its menus which offered help in figuring out how much booze I’d need for a party, finding a cocktail recipe or learning about the different scotch brands, I was very impressed.
The cocktail recipe finder was the coolest part, though, because not only would it display the recipe but it would show a video on how to make that cocktail. AND King Cocktail Dale DeGroff himself was the one doing most of the demos. He didn’t do all of them but was there for classics like the martini and the Manhattan. Unfortunately I didn’t get to explore every single recipe because the volume was kinda loud and I didn’t want the cashier to keep coming over to check on me.
By the way, one thing I learned was that when making a martini, you shouldn’t freeze your gin because according to Dale you want the ice to melt a little to mellow out its flavor. Interesting.
There were a few things I would have done differently in terms of the recipes, however. For instance, I’d use a lemon twist in my martini as opposed to an olive and I like this Old Fashioned recipe as opposed to the one they demo’d with the orange and maraschino cherries. But it’s all personal preference.
After watching the demo the kiosk allows you to print out the recipe/shopping list so you know just what to pick up from the store. However, if you’d like even more booze options (and better prices) you might want to saunter on down to K&L Wine Merchants (a couple of blocks south on Vine). Just sayin’.