Drinking and Learning at LA Times’ The Taste: Cocktail Confidential

LA Times Cocktail Confidential by Caroline on Crack
LA Times Cocktail Confidential by Caroline on Crack

LA Times Cocktail Confidential host Jessica Gelt and Jonathan Gold at last year’s Cocktail Confidential.

Good thing Sunday is Labor Day Eve as LA Times event, The Taste’s Cocktail Confidential, will not only be hosted by the likes of LA Times nightlife writer Jessica Gelt (that girl can put ’em away) and mixologist Matthew Biancaniello but will feature several demos by some of Los Angeles’ top bartenders.

Here’s the schedule and what each will be working on. Some of the bartenders shared what they’ll be doing for the demo while others chose to be coy about it. Ah well, leave ’em wanting more. Can’t wait!

Cocktail Confidential Demos Schedule

8:15-9pm at Taste Bar Stage — Serving the Customer or Serving the Ego? A Look at the Handshake of People-Pleasing and Being an Individual by Tricia Alley, director of mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits

Cocktail Confidential Tricia Alley and Lacey Murillo by Caroline on Crack

Cocktail Confidential’s Tricia Alley and Lacey Murillo showing me some love.

Tricia’s demonstration is bar focused. “You know that tension between a knowledgeable bartender and the consumer who is just embarking into the scene?,” asked Tricia. “I empathize with many points of view around this topic. Overall, my message will be 1) that service is the most important product that bartenders sell, and 2) in this tough market, bartenders/operators are wise to present a unique and thoughtful product, that consumers should not be intimidated by something new but enjoy the fantastic selection as they decide what suits their tastes.”

8:30-9:15pm at Cadillac Culinary Stage — Acabar‘s Octavio Becerra and Josh Goldman will be doing a cooking and mixology demo.

9:15-10pm at The Taste Culinary Stage — Rivera‘s John Sedlar and Julian Cox together again with a cooking and mixology demo.

9:30-10:30pm at The Taste Bar Stage — Wild & Fresh: Craft Cocktail Demo with Matthew Biancaniello, Serena Herrick (Allumette), Christiaan Rollich (Lucques/A.O.C./Tavern) and Brady Weise (1886)

Christiaan says this isn’t a competition and that each bartender has been asked to demonstrate farm fresh cocktails. Matthew Biancaniello will be doing up a cactus-infused cocktail. While Christiaan will be using grapes in his. “They are coming in at the market now. Together with Ransom Old Tom gin, arugula and cucumber. Also I will be showing people how to make their own absinthe tincture with a high-proof grain spirit.. and then water it down. I will be using it as a rinse.”

Here’s his recipe if you want to try it out:

  • 2 oz Ransom Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Thompson Grape juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz arugula syrup
  • 1/4 oz cucumber juice
  • Absinthe tincture as a rinse

Add all ingredients except the tincture to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain.

10-10:45pm at Cadillac Culinary Stage — Hinoki & the Bird‘s Kuniko Yagi and Brandyn Tepper

LA Times Taste Cocktail Confidential by Caroline on Crack

LA Times Taste Cocktail Confidential at Paramount Studios.

For his cocktail demo, Brandyn will give folks a lesson in the classics. “I will be teaching people the cocktail families, such as, gimlet, sour and Collins. From the basic knowledge of these families, audience members will easily be able to recreate great drinks at home. The inspiration behind this demo is Chef Kuni is doing real simple dishes, so instead of pair with dishes I decided to do something that was similar in the methods in which she was demo’ing. Also many times bartenders or chefs will demo these amazing foods or drinks but the audience can’t quite understand the technique or method because it’s a bit too advanced. This demo will allow audience members to go home and make the exact same drinks we do.”

10:45-11:30pm at The Taste Culinary Stage — ink’s Michael Voltaggio and Gabriella MlynarczykFor her cocktail demo alongside Chef Voltaggio, Gabriella wants to show how to create drinks that complement food. “I think [Voltaggio’s] nickname for me when I started at ink was the ‘Pantry Raider.’ Our drinks are always inspired by ingredients first then spirits come in to play second. The drinks have to complement the food and not overpower Michael’s delicate flavors and ingredients . Something like fat washing changes the way alcohol lays on your palate. It softens the mouthfeel and makes it more of a cohesive accompaniment,” she said. “I’d like to try and teach people to not be scared of trying something new or be intimidated by our drinks , we’re just cooking with liquids and hoping to give guests  a great drink and a memorable experience.”

2 Responses to Drinking and Learning at LA Times’ The Taste: Cocktail Confidential
  1. H.C.
    September 3, 2013 | 4:52 pm

    So how did this year’s Cocktail Confidential turn out?

    • Caroline on Crack
      September 4, 2013 | 1:55 pm

      It was OK. I spent most of my time at Tricia’s and Matt B’s demos. So didn’t really get to explore.

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