Paris Inspired Cocktails for Your Eyes

We don’t usually have much in the way of videos around here, but when we spotted these cocktail recipe videos from the London Cocktail Club inspired by the Coolest Bars in Paris, we just had to share. Check out J.J. Goodman’s fluidity behind the bar… if only I could toss a shaker around like that.

So let’s break out those mixing glasses and take a cocktail vacation to Paris!

Corpse Reviver 2 Cocktail

Chiclanto Cocktail

Baton Rouge Cocktail

French 75 Cocktail

Mon Fizz Cocktail

The Parisian Sunset

 

Do you have #bartenderenvy yet (He makes it look so easy!)? And pistachio cream for cocktails? Yes please! For more of J.J. Goodman’s cocktails and the London Cocktail Club, check out their YouTube page! And if  you’ve been inspired to take a trip to Paris (or another magical city) then make sure you’re prepared and bookmark some tips from The Times Insider City Guides.

This post was inspired by the Coolest Bars in Paris article found in The Sunday Times newly launched Travel Insider Site.  For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

The Traveling Bar: Scopa Italian Roots // Venice

The Traveling Bar: Scopa in Venice, CA // stirandstrain.comThe Traveling Bar is an on-going series where cocktail bloggers, bartenders and boozy professionals pick their favorite neighborhood watering holes. We’re on the westside of Los Angeles with The Minty, a gal-about-town who I trust completely with where to drink (just look at the stream of cocktails on her Instagram). Am I a little surprised she picked Venice to represent her favorite among all L.A. bars? Maybe a little… but check out that wall of booze!

Who: The Minty
Website: The Minty / LA Cocktails
Bar: Scopa Italian Roots
Where: Venice, CA

1. What do you look for in a bar?
While I mostly go to craft cocktail bars, I believe we need all types of bars for different moods. Whether they’re neighborhood bars, dives, themed or not, I like lively bars with knowledgeable and friendly bartenders. But just because someone has memorized all the classic cocktail recipes, it doesn’t mean they are hospitable so I look for bars where I can be comfortable. I also enjoy good design, good music and a fun crowd.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
I would take them to Scopa Italian Roots in Venice.

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
It’s pretty much my dream bar with a giant wall of booze, lovely food and welcoming service. Although it gets crazy packed, I never feel rushed to leave. Scopa was nominated for Best Drinks Selection at the Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail last year. Here’s a video showing off their beautiful bar (and that giant wall of booze!).

The Traveling Bar: Scopa in Venice, CA // stirandstrain.com
Bullocks Wilshire Cocktail

 

4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
When I go into a bar the first time, I tend to order all the original drinks until I find the one I like– usually some brown, bitter, stirred cocktail. At Scopa, this is the Bullocks Wilshire. But I love discovering new drinks and letting the bartender play so I tell them I want something with whiskey. For my friend, I will order a drink with their favorite base spirit. The Westside is one of Scopa’s best sellers, a pretty, refreshing drink with Angostura bitters and vodka.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
Yes! Scopa is helmed by Chef Antonia Lofaso. She was on Top Chef (season 4) and her pastas are so great. I love hearing Antonia speak about her grandmother who passed along her Italian meatballs recipe and more. Scopa is also wonderful for oysters, sandwiches and salads. I’d love to try Scopa for brunch one day.

For even more photos of the food and drinks at Scopa, check out The Minty’s round up on her site!

*Photos courtesy of The Minty.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

The Traveling Bar: The Knock Back // Portland

The Traveling Bar: The Knock Back with Sage Against the Machine // stirandstrain.comThe Traveling Bar is an on-going series where cocktail bloggers, bartenders and boozy professionals pick their favorite neighborhood watering holes. Relatively new to the Portland area, Danguole already is scouring the cocktail scene and has picked the place we should all visit. Yes, there are amazing cocktails, but there is also a slushie machine. 

Who: Danguole Lekaviciute
Website: 10th Kitchen
Bar: The Knock Back
Location: Alberta District in Portland, OR

1. What do you look for in a bar?
I like places that know who they are and what they do well. A sense of identity is important, whether I’m at a dive or a Serious Cocktail Bar for Serious Drinkers, so I tend to appreciate all kinds of establishments. Obviously, really great cocktails are the way to my heart, but I’m happy as long as there’s at least one delicious beer on tap. I also like to be comfortable, which is as much about friendly staff as it is about a decent seating arrangement, decor, and ambiance. Good music will always get me to stay longer than I otherwise would. Oh, and turn on the heater, please. It’s cold out there.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
This is tough because I’ve been in Portland for just two months and already have too many favorites, even though I have a lot of exploring left to do. I guess it depends on who my cocktail lovin’ friend is, but if he or she shares my tastes, I’d take them to the Knock Back in the Alberta district.

The Traveling Bar: The Knock Back // stirandstrain.com3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
Incredible drinks, obviously, are priority number one. Theirs are seasonal, inspired, and perfectly balanced. You can’t go wrong with rock-solid Manhattans on tap, either. Jesse and Chris, the fellas behind the cocktail program, are serious about the craft, but will also happily serve you $2 Tecate tall boys. It’s like a Raven & Rose or Clyde Common disguised as a rock ‘n roll dive — because the people behind this bar know they can do it all very well. The place is everything that is wonderful about Portland, rolled into one: friendly, laid-back, styled with a lot of character and a little edge, unpretentious yet madly obsessed with good food and drinking.

4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
I would try whatever is seasonal. One of their winter offerings, Sage Against the Machine, is a particularly clever and delicious mix of roasted squash rum, St. Germain, demerara, sage, and a mezcal rinse. As for my friend, it depends on their tastes of course — but the Painkiller here is fantastic, so I’d gently suggest that. Or maybe we would just start with two of whatever is in the slushie machine (I heard rumors about frozen watermelon palomas this summer) and go from there.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
They do, and I recently learned that all bars in Portland are required to serve food. This is a mixed blessing, of course, but now that I think about it, you can usually tell by the menu whether the bar is serious about food (most are) or is just keepin’ it legal. The Knock Back is definitely the former — on one occasion I heard a fellow patron praising the homemade pozole with some combination of the words “best,” “ever,” and “had,” so I’ll have to try it next time. Other than that, it’s pub food done really, really well — think fried Brussels sprouts, dirty popcorn, fried chicken sandwiches, salads, and burgers. And like a true PDX establishment, they also have a stellar tempeh Reuben.

 

Photos courtesy of Danguole Lekaviciute.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

The Traveling Bar: Employees Only // New York City

The Traveling Bar: Employees Only in NYC // stirandstrain.comThe Traveling Bar is an on-going series where cocktail bloggers, bartenders and boozy professionals pick their favorite neighborhood watering holes. The West Village in NYC is home to one of the first modern-type speakeasies we’ve all come to love drinking at. Prairie Rose takes us past the neon glow of the Psychic sign for her favorite bar this week.

Who: Prairie Rose
Website: Bit By a Fox
Bar: Employees Only
Location: West Village (New York City)

The Traveling Bar: Employees Only in NYC // stirandstrain.com1. What do you look for in a bar?
I like bars that are comfortable (booths are a bonus!), friendly, can attract a variety of clientele and have a little sex appeal. Also, they have to make a solid drink. Even if it’s a dive bar and all I’m getting is a rye whiskey and a splash of ginger ale, I’d like a nice glass of ice and fresh lime, please!

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
I think Employees Only makes a pretty nice impression. But I would insist we go early in the night to avoid any trouble getting in.

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
EO was one of the first speakeasy type bars in NYC (they just celebrated their 10 year anniversary), they have a solid craft cocktail menu and the flattering lighting and attractive employees doesn’t hurt. You’re bound to chat up your neighbor, stick around for dinner,​ work your way through the cocktail menu, and stay well past your bedtime.The Traveling Bar: Employees Only in NYC // stirandstrain.com

4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
I’d let my friend order for themselves. But I’m happy to recommend something, depending on what they’re most interested in. I love an aperitif cocktail and The Provençal – Lavender-infused Plymouth Gin stirred with Herbs de Provence-infused French Vermouth & Cointreau is a delightful one. And a safe bet is the crowd-pleasing Amelía – Aylesbury Duck Vodka & St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur shaken with puréed Blackberries & Fresh Lemon Juice.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
They DO have food and it’s good! The food menu has an old-world gentleman’s club steakhouse vibe to it. Oysters, caviar and lamb chops are on the menu – a good base for all those Manhattans you’ll be imbibing!

 

*Photos courtesy of Prairie Rose.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

The Traveling Bar: Harlowe // Los Angeles

The Traveling Bar: Harlowe in West Hollywood, CA // stirandstrain.comThe Traveling Bar is an on-going series where cocktail bloggers, bartenders and boozy professionals pick their favorite neighborhood watering holes. Los Angeles has produced some of the best bars in the country over the past few years, so it makes sense that we find ourselves back there again. Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, one half of the duo behind 12 Bottle Bar, gives us her West Hollywood favorite. ~Elana

Who: Lesley Jacobs Solmonson
Website: 12 Bottle Bar
Bar: Harlowe
Where: West Hollywood (Los Angeles, CA)

The Traveling Bar: Harlowe in West Hollywood, CA // stirandstrain.com1. What do you look for in a bar?

Like a cocktail, it requires an equal balance of the right ingredients. In this case, impeccably made drinks, great food (to soak up the alcohol), a welcoming atmosphere that invites you to stay awhile, and bartenders eager to share their craft.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?

Los Angeles is so full of amazing bars from east side to west side that picking a favorite is a serious challenge. But, given the parameters I mentioned, Harlowe fits the bill on every level.

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?

When you walk inside, you feel you’ve stepped back in time. The designers wanted to capture the Golden Age of Hollywood and they have succeeded beautifully – vintage tiles, lamps with a gaslight feel, charming paintings of winsome ladies on the walls. There’s a huge central bar that runs the length of the room, booths around the sides, even a shrub-enclosed patio. The lighting is dim enough to feel moody, but not so dark you can’t see your drink. Some nights they have DJs, which I tend to avoid because I like to talk with friends and the bartenders. I usually go on the early side because I can do just that.

The menu changes seasonally, but the selection of drinks covers the gamut from original cocktails that use less common spirits like apple brandy, pisco, rhum agricole, and genever, to classic drinks that have been house-bottled like their Sazerac or put on draft like their Negroni. And the drinks are served by some of the cities best bartenders, who love discussing the nuances of their creations or debating the best way to make a classic. Just be sure you don’t try to get into a major conversation if the bar is full!

4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?

For me, it would be the West Hollywood. Of all the cocktails I’ve had in the last year, this is the one I come back to again and again — and even make at home. It’s essentially a Manhattan, but the balance of Laird’s Apple Brandy, Noilly Prat Ambre, Dry Curacao, Angostura and the Calvados-soaked apple garnish is an inspired reinvention of the classic.

For my friend, it would, of course depend on their spirit of choice. If they weren’t sure, I’d order them a Shandy Koufax, a combination of Cana Brava rum, Amaro Meletti, , pineapple gomme, lemon, California IPA, and Angostura. A slightly tropical, refreshing rum-beer mash up.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?

One of the reasons I chose Harlowe is because many bars don’t have food unless they are in a restaurant. I purposely didn’t choose a restaurant bar because that felt like a cheat. Harlowe’s menu was created by L.A. chef Eric Greenspan and, while it is mainly snack-based, the offerings are hearty and fun. If I just want a few nibbles, I go for the charred brussels sprouts and cheese puffs. When I’m really hungry and plan to stay awhile, I can choose from fish ‘n chips, a French Dip, or — my favorite — the open-faced bologna sandwich with gruyere and a fried egg. Now that really gives you a foundation for a night of imbibing.

*Photos courtesy of Lesley Jacobs Solmonson.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

And one more thing…

If you haven’t yet, you guys need to check out the The 12 Bottle Bar cocktail book! It’s one of my picks for the Boozy Book Club Gift Guide, and should be under your tree this year.

The Traveling Bar: Hotsy Totsy Club // East Bay

The Traveling Bar: Hotsy Totsy Club Albany // stirandstrain.comThe Traveling Bar is an on-going series where cocktail bloggers, bartenders and boozy professionals pick their favorite neighborhood watering holes. Today we’re back in the East Bay (in Northern California)  joined by Todd from Honestly Yum for his favorite place to get a drink. Read on to find out where you can oogle a tower of gin and then later feast on tacos. Mmmm… ~Elana

Who: Todd Wagner
Website: Honestly Yum
Bar: Hotsy Totsy Club
Where: East Bay (Albany, CA)

1. What do you look for in a bar?

While admittedly I’m quite the cocktail nerd, by no means would I consider myself a cocktail snob. Consequently, I like a bar that takes its craft seriously, but doesn’t take itself too seriously; a place that can mix me up a boulevardier or a last word, but won’t get snarky if I order a rum and coke or a screwdriver. I’m a sucker for a good tequila selection and fresh citrus. Friendly bartenders go a long way, especially when I see they have a group of loyal regulars.The Traveling Bar: Hotsy Totsy Club Albany // stirandstrain.com

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?

The first place I always take my friends is the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, CA. It’s my favorite neighborhood bar – I grew up just around the corner. Nothing beats it!

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?

The Hotsy Totsy has it all: the charm of your friendly neighborhood bar, mixed with the craft of today’s cocktail scene. The local regulars are practically family. The owners Jessica and Michael keep the bar stocked with an evolving selection of spirits, old and new, including an impressive tower of gin. The bartenders are all incredibly knowledgeable, and in times of indecisiveness they never fail to mix me up something delicious.The Traveling Bar: Hotsy Totsy Club Albany // stirandstrain.com

4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?

Hmm, so many choices…if it’s chilly outside I’d probably order my friend a “Hot Totsy”. It’s a flaming drink that uses overproof rum, brandy, honey syrup, lemon juice, hot water, and a winter spice blend. The spices are toasted over the flaming glass, which always makes for an impressive show (and smells incredible, btw). If the weather’s warm, and let’s face it we’re in California, I’d probably go with something cold and refreshing like “El Matador” (pictured here) – Hangar One chipotle vodka, Ancho Reyes, lime juice, agave and cilantro with a sriracha-salt rim. As for me, I’d probably order a glass of well-rum and fresh-squeezed grapefruit. Old habits die hard.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?

The bar itself doesn’t serve food, but there’s an incredible taco truck called Tacos El Autlense parked in the Totsy’s parking lot, 7 days a week. Cocktails and tacos…it doesn’t get much better than that!

*Photos courtesy of Todd Wagner.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

The Traveling Bar: Bestia // Los Angeles

The Traveling Bar: Bestia in Los Angeles with Whitney Adams // stirandstrain.comToday’s Traveling Bar features a downtown Los Angeles location where you can get good cocktails, amazing food, AND excellent wine all in one place. Whitney Adams, my go-to wine expert, takes us there. ~ Elana

Who: Whitney Adams
Website: Whitney A. & Bottle Stock
Bar: Bestia
Where: Los Angeles

1. What do you look for in a bar?
Good vibes, first and foremost. Good people, good music, good lighting…and of course, good drinks and wine. My very favorite bars have not only excellent cocktails but an interesting and well-edited wine list.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
I would probably head to Bestia. Kill several birds with one stone. The food is amazing, the cocktails are on point and the wine list is great. You can’t not be happy when perched on a stool at the Bestia bar.The Traveling Bar: Bestia in Los Angeles with Whitney Adams // stirandstrain.com

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here? The energy of the restaurant is almost electric and buzzing, you feel like you are on the pulse of something. And it helps that I know a lot of the staff there, so it’s nice to be able to be amongst friends.

4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself? This is tough to answer because my drink order totally depends on my mood and changes all the time. I usually start with a cocktail and then move to wine, or the other way around. If i’m bringing a friend I would order us both one of their White Negronis (gin, kina l’avion d’or, suze, grapefruit oil) and then let Maxwell, Jesse or Ryan pour us literally any wine they have open. The “wine rave” is also a show stopper. Think flashing LED lights, bass-thumping music on a portable speaker and shots of riesling (or whatever).The Traveling Bar: Bestia in Los Angeles with Whitney Adams // stirandstrain.com

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite? Because it’s officially a restaurant, they most definitely have food. And outstanding food at that. Their pizza and pasta are some of the best I’ve ever had. I also love getting a house cured salumi plate with mustard and pickled things.

*Photos courtesy of Whitney Adams.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

The Traveling Bar: The Daily & Amor y Amargo // New York City

The Traveling Bar - The Daily in NYC // stirandstrain.comToday we’re headed off to NYC where we’re doing a double header with Emily from Gastronomista. Two bars in one night sounds just about right when one visits the Big Apple (is it still called that?). ~ Elana

Who: Emily Arden Wells
Website: Gastronomista
Bar(s): The DailyAmor y Amargo
Where: New York City

1. What do you look for in a bar?
Fantastic cocktails, welcoming hosts/hostesses, and a comfortable and well designed aesthetic. A great bar needs to have a feeling of novelty, yet must be as comfortable as your living room.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
Oh man, I can’t pick just one. My two favorite NYC bars are The Daily and Amor y Amargo. I’d do a double header on a Friday so I could see my favorite bartenders in the city.

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
Great bartenders and even better cocktails! These are two bars that are making fantastic cocktails and do it in an approachable and fun way.

Nacho Jimenez and Masa Urushido of The Daily offer a daily selection of 5-6 fantastic cocktails. I always love their choices, and am continuously impressed by the creativity of the cocktails they create. Friday nights these two old time buddies are behind the stick – it is always a good time.

Sother Teague is at Amor Amargo on Fridays and he makes amazingly complex amaro and vermouth cocktails. They have an intense cocktail list with a lot of spirits most people haven’t heard of, but they are really friendly and explain their cocktails to those who inquire. Every visit is an education.

The Traveling Bar: Amor Y Amargo in NYC // stirandstrain.com4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
BFF:
Some drinking buddies are more adventurous than others, so I generally let people pick their own poison. I do try to encourage them to get something interesting so I can enjoy a sip too!

Myself:
The Daily: Whatever Negroni variation is on the board.
Amor y Amargo: Dealer’s Choice.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
The Daily: The Chick Pea Fries and the Veggie Plate with Charred Baba Ganoush. TDF.

Amor y Amargo: Deviled Eggs with cauliflower puree and Trout Roe.

 

Photos courtesy of Samir Osman, Melissa Horn and Amor y Amargo.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

The Traveling Bar: Haven // Oakland

The Traveling Bar - Haven in Oakland // stirandstrain.comWelcome to the inaugural feature of the Traveling Bar here on Stir and Strain. Today we’re traveling to Oakland where A Bar Above chats with us on their favorite place to sip (and dish). Enjoy! ~ Elana

Who: Chris Tunstall
Website: A Bar Above

Bar: Haven
Where: Oakland, CA 

1. What do you look for in a bar?
I always look for a place that has some character, something unique about it and a comfortable atmosphere. If the bartender is fun, the music is good, the drinks are great, there’s not much else you can ask for.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
We live out in the East Bay of the San Franciso area and there is an emerging craft cocktail scene with bars like the Hotsy Totsy, Honor Bar, Prizefighter and a newly opened Tiki Bar making fantastic drinks.

If I only had ONE bar, it would be Haven in Jack London Square.

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
Haven has the perfect balance of being somewhere that would be interesting for a tourist, great food, a fun atmosphere and fantastic cocktails. They take the ingredients of craft cocktails very seriously, but have great music and a fun atmosphere at the bar.

The other fun thing about Haven is that it sits directly across the historic Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon. Heinold’s is famous for being one of the places that Jack London would frequent., and the fact that the floor is noticeably uneven,the level is off by a few feet, as a result of the 1906 earthquake.

The Traveling Bar - Haven in Oakland // stirandstrain.com4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
For my friend I would order their version of a Moscow Mule with their house made beet and ginger beer. For myself I would have to get their Barrel Aged Negroni. They make their own Malorts and the barrel aging integrates the ingredients really well.

We would finish off the evening with some of their house made Cynar.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
Haven is part of the Daniel Patterson Group of restaurants which include Coi, Plumbar and Alta. The food is what originally brought us into the restaurant, and we end up going there every time we have a special occasion. With an Executive Chef and a General Manager that came from Manresa, you know the food is going to be great. I recommend the Bone Marrow, the Stone Valley Pork and make sure to save room for dessert. The sweet corn budino is only slightly addicting. The price for the quality of food and drink make it our favorite place in the East Bay.

Photos courtesy of A Bar Above.

More Traveling Bar Posts found here!

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GUYS! Also this week, A Bar Above has rolled out their new online cocktail program over on their site. Check it out! In the comfort of your home bar (or heck, kitchen if you will) you can learn ALL the aspects that go into making great cocktails and gain the knowledge to make you comfortable mixing and serving up drinks for any crowd. Want to learn more? Follow this link to the class site.

New Column: The Traveling Bar

The Traveling Bar // stirandstrain.com Hello Readers!

It’s been a hot minute since I introduced a new feature on the site so I wanted to hip you guys to something new starting tomorrow: The Traveling Bar.

I’ve asked some of my cocktail blogger friends and drinking aficionados to name THE place in their city to get a drink. Stay tuned as we roll out new places every few weeks (give or take). And if you have a city you’d like to know about, drop us a line at info@stirandstrain.com. I’d love to hear from you guys!