A viewing party for the Academy Awards in Hollywood may seem expected – the one Ever Bar has crafted up is anything but.
by Abby Read
Ever Bar at the Kimpton Everly Hotel in Hollywood presents its second annual Oscars-themed cocktails for this year’s awards season thanks to mixologist and bar manager Dan Rook and his team. Rook came to Los Angeles via Chicago where he had been running the bar program at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco before moving west to open Ever Bar at the end of 2017.
Last year, Rook used his new Tinseltown location as inspiration to create not one Oscar-themed cocktail, but an entire menu’s worth. Rook saw all nine movies nominated for Best Picture in about 12 days and then two weeks later he and his team had developed the cocktails. “Instead of actors or categories, we decided to create cocktails that pay tribute to the Best Picture nominees while connecting the consumer of the drink to very poignant moments of each film,” Rook told The Tasting Panel Magazine. It came together rather quickly, he recalled, and now it is an evergreen concept.
This “side-car” feature menu, as Rook called it, is a rotating staple at Ever Bar (along with their already hefty cocktail book, some 30 drinks deep). Aside from the Oscars, Ever Bar featured an Emmys menu in September of last year that looked like a TV Guide, and in June Rook and his team created a Negroni menu built to resemble an album that on one sleeve read, “Now That’s What I Call A Negroni!”
Creativity is not for want here.
This year, the first featured menu of 2019 continues to gush with detailed innovation. “The drinks are meant to be theatrical in their presentation, that’s always the goal,” said Rook. “[But] the root of it all is still making things with integrity while using house ingredients.”
Of his Best Picture cocktails, Rook talked about his three front runners to win the Oscar.
A Star Is Born: “A Star is Born is two separate cocktails that work together simultaneously: the shallow and the deep end,” Rook explained. The shallow, Jack (Bradley Cooper) is a Commerce Gin based cocktail that is stirred, with “rustic and grassy characteristics meant to mimic the feel of an outdoor rock concert.” It’s served in a classic coup with a shallow pour. The deep end, Ally (Lady Gaga) is a riff on a Grasshopper served in a shot glass: “the sweet to his savory,” Rook explained. Both drinks pair well with frozen peas and the shallow one is garnished with 12 frozen peas (meant to represent the moment in the film when Jack buys a bag of frozen peas to wrap around Ally’s swollen hand).
Roma: “This film is what I call a black and white film in color because it so gorgeously shot,” Rook said. “So we wanted the drink to be black and white as well.” The cocktail is served in a Mexican Coke bottle, a prominent prop within the film itself. It is a mezcal (a nod to the lead character who is from Qaxaca) White Russian with horchata and frozen Coca-Cola, which slowly starts to dilute and adds more flavor to the cocktail.
The Favourite: Rook said he and his team went “way down the rabbit hole with this one but it is probably the one I am most proud of.” The cocktail represents the three leading ladies of the film: Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), Abigail (Emma Stone), and Sarah (Rachel Weisz). It is a three-course flight (in the style of the of a three-course meal) includes three micro pours in three different vessels served on a grassy moss board. All the cocktails use Silent Pool Gin. Course one (Queen Anne) is meant to mimic the salad course: it is vegetal and bright made with asparagus milk. The white color is also a nod to the 16 rabbits she had in the film. Course two (Sarah) is served in a jet black tall shot glass and meant to mimic the main dish in a meal: a broth-based cocktail made with house veal and chicken stock that Rook re-reduced with black garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Lastly, the third course (Abigail) is the dessert, what Rook called a “Gin hot chocolate.” The flight is accompanied with a mini menu, complete with the Queen’s stamp.
With cocktails so intricately crafted to convey the film they represent, Ever Bar brings the magic of the silver screen to a bar stool. Ever Bar will open early on Sunday for a viewing party, beginning with Red Carpet coverage complete with three separate TVs, popcorn, and a red carpet of their own.
The Oscar menu will run through March and cocktails are priced at $20 (with the exception of The Vice cocktail which serves 2-3 and is $43). For more details visit everbarla.com