New Chef and Drinks at The Churchill
The Churchill has launched a menu by new Executive Chef Michael Bryant (formerly Joe’s, Father’s Office, Palihouse Hotel) and a new cocktails list by beverage consultant Karen Grill (Bestia). I was invited a couple of weeks ago to check out the latest offerings at this mid-city/ West 3rd hotspot.
First, Karen brings a sense of intricacy and balance to the cocktails. They’re not going to be mixology in your face but they do strive to be more than your average high ball (spirit + mixer). The menu has a little something for everyone. Summer may be on its way out but that doesn’t mean you should give up on those pretty flower-garnished cocktails. Try the Tiki-tiki Tembo (aged rum, Cynar, pineapple juice, orgeat, lime, grated nutmeg) for a fresh take on a tropical drink. The Cynar helps balance out the sweetness from the pineapple.
I wanted a light snack and went for the Spanish octopus and roasted cauliflower and romanesco to share. I enjoyed all the veggies in the Spanish octopus dish including the snow peas and cherry tomatoes. I would have liked a squeeze of lemon on this dish to cut the richness of the oil but I also love more piquant food.
Karen recently won the LA regional for Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender contest. She has put her winning cocktail, Lilly of the Valley, on Churchill’s cocktail list. Enjoy the refreshing drink with LA’s indie craft spirit Chareau Aloe Vera liqueur. I first ran across this liqueur a few months ago when I met owner Kurt Charron who named his spirit after great-grandparents. The bontanicals in the gin complement the aloe vera, cucumber, muskmelon, lemon and spearmint in the Chareau. This should be your new “gin and tonic.”
Lilly of the Valley
- 1 oz Beefeater gin
- .50 oz Chareau Aloe Liqueur
- .75 oz lime juice
- .50 oz simple syrup
- .50 agave syrup
Combine all ingredients with in shaker except soda. Serve in a tall glass, top with soda and rose wine float. Lime wheel garnish.
I absolutely loved the cauliflower and romanesco. Sometimes I find roasted veggies over roasted but this dish was great.
The 24-1/2 Century cocktail is Karen’s take of the 19th Century Cocktail (bourbon, creme de cacao, Lillet rouge, lemon). Bourbon is switched out for Scotch and the Lilet Rouge is replaced with Punt e Mes. The result is a little bit more nuanced. The kick of the Scotch is rounded out by the sweeter Punt e Mes.
Another refreshing cocktail is the High Tea (tequila, Earl Grey tea, Rhubarb liqueur, lemon, soda, orange bitters). I recommend this cocktail to those who have wanted to give tequila a try since they vowed to never have it again when they imbibed the bad stuff in college. It’ll change your mind when paired with the strong tea and flavorful Rhubarb liqueur.
One of the favorite cocktails I tasted from Churchill’s new list is the Bergamot Sour. I was amazed to find it’s made with vodka instead of gin. A lot of the flavor profile comes from the Amaro Cio Ciaro and the citrus includes both lemon and bergamot. And it’s not a sour without real egg whites. Bonus points for the pretty Angostura bitters design.
Other new cocktails I need to try:
Westside Negroni – London dry gin, East India sherry, Aperol, lemon zest
Caipera – Cachaca, pear brandy, lime segments, Peychaud’s bitters
Mezcalifornia Dreamin’ – Mezcal, Cointreau, SAGE liqueur, lime
The Churchill also has happy hour every day from 3- 7 p.m. As well as a reverse happy hour from 9 p.m. to Midnight. Plus half off all bottles of wine on Tuesday.
I also want to try more of the new food menu. I love that there are so many seafood options. The menu doesn’t look too different from what Churchill has been serving but I’m interested in Chef Bryant’s take on hearty fare like the Churchill burger and mac and cheese.
© The Minty 2013