January 2014

Who's Serving What: Warwick, Los Angeles

By: The Tasting Panel Editorial Team

With an upscale aesthetic and a dedication to premiere hospitality, Warwick has introduced Los Angeles to a world-class nightlife experience as envisioned by Jeffrey Best. That innovation is exemplified in its incredible cocktail program, which brings us to Warwick's latest and greatest offering: a specialty cocktail menu focused on hand crafted, seasonally inspired, market-fresh cocktails created by Beverage Directors Jason Bran and Damian Windsor.

"When Jeffrey Best hired us to create the cocktail menu for Warwick, the emphasis was on market-fresh ingredients," explains Windsor. "It played to our advantage to feature produce in liquid form and have the spirit support it, which is what happens with our tableside cocktail service. This way, our market ingredients come to the foreground, and then the liquor is balanced behind it, so that it compliments the produce and creates a stronger flavor profile."

Quality is key at Warwick, which is why the spirits are top shelf, the produce is brought in daily, and the cocktails take time, patience and dedication to create. The result is a menu that manages to remain classic, yet cutting edge, while expertly highlighting fresh ingredients and high-end spirits in a perfect medley of flavor, presentation and style, indicative of the Warwick way.

The menu begins with the Warwick Cup, combining vodka, Pimm's No. 1, fresh strawberry, fresh squeezed pineapple juice and lemon juice, topped with soda. The Spanish Bull  calls upon tequila, Mezcal and Cointreau with fresh squeezed orange and carrot juice.  Then there is the Peach Cobbler, which pair's cognac, fresh squeezed lemon juice, peach puree and maple syrup.

Two cocktails that really stand out on Bran and Windsor's first menu are the Kaffir Melon Cooler and the Blackberry Buck, which beautifully highlights not only the team's market-fresh inspiration, but also the passion that they employ in creating these drinks.

Kaffir Melon Cooler
As Bran explains, "With the Kaffir Melon Cooler, we were playing with pairings and flavors. We started with the watermelon and looked at different combinations that might work well with it. That process brought us to the lime and salt, but then we had to look at what else we could use to make it more interesting. We then figured out how to show off the botanicals in the gin, which really helped highlight the Kaffir lime leaf, but this drink needed one more thing to help back up the flavor of the watermelon, and that is where the pomegranate juice came in."  

Blackberry Buck

Then there is the Blackberry Buck, which combines bourbon, blackberries, ginger root, vanilla, house-made blackberry ginger beer, cinnamon and nutmeg. "The blackberry is nice and jammy, while the ginger brings the heat," Bran says. "Damian and I had decided we wanted to make our own ginger beer, and from there, this cocktail became a Buck. The bourbon and blackberry are great together."

Adds Windsor, "This is the drink that best represents what we do here at Warwick. It's classic, but it also has a modern twist."  

Closing this menu is the Coco Pina Fresca, which features rum, fresh pineapple juice and lime topped with coconut foam, and the Orange Royale, is a delicious mix of Cointreau, fresh squeezed blood orange juice and Prosecco.

This cocktail menu is a result of multiple tastings and reviews, endless hours of preparation, trials and research, and a lot of determination and passion. As Windsor puts it, "Sometimes it takes time for the magic to happen. The Buck didn't work with several different bourbons and a couple of different ryes originally, but it works with what we are pouring with it now. It takes a lot of patience and dedication to get it just right."

Even so, there's room for interchangeability when necessary. For example, if a guest isn't a mezcal drinker and would prefer vodka in something that regularly features tequila, the bar team is prepared to make amendments and bend some rules to accommodate different palates.

Together, Bran and Windsor have created a collection of unique cocktails that complement one another without copying one another, appealing to a broad base of drinkers, while honoring their farm-to-glass mandate. As Windsor shares, "We've taken the best of everything we know, and pulled it all together in one solid menu that speaks to our guests and gives them the quality that they deserve."

Coco Pina Fresca

Warwick Orange Royale

Warwick is open every Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am.  For more information or reservations, please e-mail reservations@warwickla.com or call Warwick directly at 323.460.6667.

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