Beverly Hills: Crudo Hour at Culina and Drinks by Cocktail Academy
Culina. Modern Italian has scored a major coup. They’ve brought on the Cocktail Academy to consult on their drinks list. The resulting cocktails include every sort of mood– from vodka to bourbon so there’s something for everyone.
The happy hour or Crudo hour is in reference to Italian raw fish dishes (think Italian sashimi). Though you’ll find plenty of the cooked stuff and not just fish. I was invited in to check out the new beverages and got a sneak peek at a few new dishes. Spoiler alert- the they’re good!
Resembling a mini swizzle, the Bitter Bee is just what you need on a hot night (or day!). Is this weather driving you nuts? Well, then it’s time for a Bitter Bee with vodka. I love the bitterness coming from the heavy dose of bitters.
Bitter Bee – vodka, honey, mint, lime, bitters
Walking the fine line between spiced and spicy, comes the Calore Verde. It’s going in the direction of a fine margarita but a rim of Tajin keeps it interesting as well as the jalepeno-infused St. Germain elderflower liqueur.
Calore Verde – reposado tequila, lime, agave, St. Germain, jalepeno
I’ve always liked the bar at Culina. It feels like its own space, just far enough away from the main dining room but easy to spot when you first come in. There’s always something on the shelf for me to look at– currently I’m in love with their whiskey section. After a cocktail or two, settling into a glass of whiskey sounds about right.
We tried a variety of crudo and also small bites of beef, salmon and tuna as well as cheese. I really liked the beef and salmon.
Sometimes simple is best. Get the Sunset Buck when you’re thinking about what food to order as the savory notes will prep your palate. The mezcal worked really well with the Aperol, giving it a smokey-bitter note.
Sunset Buck – mezcal, Aperol, pineapple, ginger, Peychaud’s bitters
As mentioned, we tried a selection of small plates that included everything from flatbread to this lovely tuna dish. I’m a big fan of eggplant so I really liked this tuna with eggplant.
I learn something new every day. And on this day, I learned that a whiskey daiquiri is called a shake. Introducing the Balsilico Shake which includes my other favorite herb, basil. Think of it as a fun update on a daiquiri.
While every day should be happy hour, check out Culina on Tuesdays where they’ve been doing special tequila nights with Tequila Casa Dragones. The Industry networking night is every Tuesday through September from 6 to 9 p.m.
Balsilico Shake – bourbon, crushed basil, sugar, lime