Dec 192011

Shaker One here.  I was recently invited to meet friends for Happy Hour at a local watering hole in a familiar location.  Formerly Saints and Sinners, the place has been gifted with a complete remodel and theme change.  I’ve been curious since I saw the new sign go up, but this was my first opportunity to pop in and check it out for myself.

Now Saints and Sinners was a fun, wackily decor-ed local spot with something of a hit and miss crowd.  My biggest complaint was that their cocktail menu wasn’t to my liking.  So while I knew I’d miss the fire pit and crazily adorned statuary I was eager to see what the owners had brought us with this incarnation.

The new Oldfields on Venice Blvd just East of Sepulveda is a revelation.  Styled as an old school “liquor room” it is a haven of laid back elegance with a bit of a vintage feel accented with classic racing photos (its named after the racer Barney Oldfield).  We walked in and I immediately fell in love.  And not just because I can stumble back home afterwards.  While I’ll try a place once for convenience, Oldfield’s is somewhere I plan to call my local hang.

The bar is extremely well stocked with interesting beers on tap and an impressive array of the hard stuff-especially whiskeys and gins.  But what make my little heart go pitter patter was the new cocktail menu.  Fresh ingredients in truly creative combinations, this baby was the result of someone’s hard work.  And it pays off, oh boy does it.   I first ordered from the happy hour drink specials- The Blitzen Benz.

For my first taste of Cynar this was a hit.  And Shaker One loves her flips.  I must be sure to mention that all night the service here was exceptional.  Every drink I watched was made with care.  These folks are serious about giving you a good cocktail experience.

Next I tried The Outlaw (sorry, no pic)- sort of a spicy margarita type beverage.  Very tasty.  After such a promising start I wandered up to the bar and did one of my favorite things to do at a bar:  asked the bartender to surprise me with something.  Sit down kids, for what showed up in front of me was easily the very best cocktail I’ve had all year.  Not on the menu, ask the bartender for a “Nikita’s Bees”.  I don’t know exactly what was in this (a gin based drink with a lovely almost floral aroma and a smooth flip finish) but it was so perfectly balanced and delicious I smiled while I sipped.


I can’t wait until Shaker Two comes back out this way so that I can introduce her to this lovely local gem.  Kids, if you’re in the Westside and in the mood for a well made cocktail in a cool and welcoming environment do not miss this place.

If Oldfield’s was a martini, I’d give it 5 olives.  Now who wants to go back with me for another Nikita’s Bees?

Oct 152011

Shaker One here, sorry for the long hiatus from blogging.  No, The Shakers haven’t turned into teatotalers or abandoned our little blog.  Real life work and nonsense have kept us both away from here for far too long.  But no more!  There are cocktails out there crying out for us to imbibe and review!  What kind of Shakers would we be to let all those poor orphaned drinks go without a home?

Thirsty Shakers, that’s what kind.

So last night I met some friends at a local restaurant  – The Spanish Kitchen.  Located in the heart of West Hollywood, this little gem of a place charmed me from the start.  We were immediately greeted warmly by the hostess, shown to a booth and then the fun began.

Now, you may be asking me why is a martini blog reviewing a Spanish restaurant?  Well Shaker fans, we’re about to talk about one of my favorite non-martini cocktails:  The Margarita!

I’m not talking about those crappy  overly sweet sippers of “mystery mixer” and cheap tequila you get at chain restaurants.  A really good margarita is a vacation in a glass.  Whether you like them blended, rocked, salty or not, the margarita is a classic cocktail.
I spent an entire summer learning to craft my perfect margarita at home.  My hands were perpetually sore from squeezing so many limes, but it was worth it.  Last night’s margaritas put my efforts to shame.  The Spanish Kitchen has taken the humble margarita and made magic.  Are you sitting down?  They infuse their own tequila.  Yep, fresh fruit and peppers in a quality white tequila take the drink from “wow” to “sweet mother of salsa bring me three more now!”.

I tried two of their most popular-

La Chiquita:  a delicious mix of tequila infused with fresh strawberries, pineapple and kiwi, fresh lime and cointreau.  Subtle, yet all the fresh fruit flavors come through.  I loved this drink.


Next was a margarita with habanero infused tequila (apologies-I’ve forgotten what they call it)

This one is spicy!  Really spicy, but still refreshing.  Delicious.

We also sampled a few of their dishes.  My favorite was the Borracho Tequila Shrimp.

Even the crustaceans here like their tequila!
And speaking of, there is also a nice selection of tequila by the glass and both red and white sangrias.


The service was outstanding, the food delicious, the decor was charmingly festooned with a little early Halloween fun and the drinks were top notch.  Shaker One gives this place a big thumbs up.  And I’ll be back for Taco Tuesdays!

Aug 032011

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend a private event at a great bar/restaurant on Hollywood Blvd- The Five 0 Four.  Located near the Walk of Fame, this is a charming and boisterous Cajun/Creole themed place where it’s always Mardi Gras.  The gorgeous outdoor patio seating transports you away from the bustle of Hollywood and into a happy vacation mood.  And because it’s in Hollywood, the people watching is unparalleled.

I sampled several cocktails through the course of the event.  First I started off with a Pimm’s Cup.  Now Pimm’s is a fairly recent discovery for me.  I had it for the first time at Le Cafe Deux Magots in Paris in a pimm’s and champagne.  Delicious!  So I was anxious to try the cocktail that’s a ubiquitous English refresher.  And I loved it.  It is the perfect  light cocktail on a warm summer evening.  I’ll be making this at home without a doubt.

Next I was feeling adventurous so I ordered a Sazerac.  As the server warned me, it is something of a whiskey martini and quite strong.  I must admit that this one was lost on me.  It wasn’t the drink (it was well made), it’s just that I’ve never acquired a taste for the brown boozes.  If you enjoy your whiskey, this is a drink for you.

I missed trying their Hurricanes, though those that did certainly appeared to be enjoying them.  Towards the end of the evening I was in the mood for something a bit different and asked the bartender what he recommended.  I received one of my favorite answers, “want me to make something up for you?”.  Yes and yes.  Say hello to Petey, the charming bartender who can put together one hell of a drink:


I knew I was in good hands when I saw him spank the mint.  He made up a lovely St.Germain cocktail on the spot!  I wish I remembered what he put in it, as I’d order it again and again.  Oh well, I’ll just have to make another visit and see if he can repeat the deliciousness.  I so appreciate finding a bartender who will happily go off menu and have fun with it.  A great drink to end the night with.

Thank you Five O Four for a memorable evening.  I know where to go when I need a little taste of the Mardi Gras spirit in my week.  Until next time, Shaker One out.

Jun 172011

Shaker One here.  I was recently invited to join a friend for a little tuesday happy hour fun at a place I had not tried yet-The Westside Tavern (downstairs).  He promised delicious cocktails including a Watermelon Flip, which intrigued us both.  Sadly, when we got there the bar did not have the watermelon drink available.  But we consoled ourselves with two other tasty beverages.

Nothing like walking up to the bar to meet your friend and they already have your drink waiting for you.  A Grapefruit Rickey .  This is a really nice not overly tart version of the classic rickey.  St. Germain is added to soften the tang of the grapefruit juice.  A fantastic summer sipper.

Next up was our replacement for the watermelon flip:

The Strawberry Tarragon Flip



Wow.  I think I’m glad they were out of watermelon.  Fresh strawberries and tarragon muddled with lime juice, vodka, simple syrup and pasteurized egg whites-shaken, strained into a martini glass and garnished with a spanked tarragon leaf.  What?  You don’t spank your herbs to release their essential oils?  Naughty, naughty tarragon.

This cocktail knocked my socks off.  Subtle and airy.  You could taste the freshness of the ingredients and no one overpowered the others.  I could have put away several of these.  Easily.  I look forward to crafting this at home.  Though I’ve used thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, and of course mint in cocktails, I’d never thought to add tarragon.  I can’t wait to try tarragon with other fruit/booze combinations.

Sadly it was a school night, so our happy hour sipping stopped there.  But I will be back to sample the rest of their cocktail menu another time.  A great spot to grab well crafted drinks before/after a movie and super convenient location smack dab in the middle of the West Side.  Now I’m off to buy some tarragon.

Dec 132010

It is no secret that the Shakers hold St Germain elderflower liqueur near and dear to our hearts. It has been a go-to ingredient for a number of our concoctions and a lovely addition to champagne and prosecco nights. In light of this, when Shaker One read on Caroline on Crack that The Wine House was hosting an event featuring our beloved drink we were all over it. We met up with honorary Shaker, Jenni, and settled in for the fun.

This was our first event at The Wine House, though Shaker Two especially, is no stranger to its amazing wine selection. Two of LA’s top bartenders, Aidan Demarest of the newly launched Spare Room Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel and Damian Windsor of The Roger Room along with rep Chad Wiltgen came up with a good cross section of drinks.

We started out with the Winter Punch mixed up by Chad Wiltgen. This was a lovely concoction of St Germain, Aperol, grapefruit juice and lemon zest. Flavors were nice and the Aperol, Campari’s lighter cousin, encouraged Shaker Two to give herbals a try again (we all remember her reaction the last time she tasted one.) Overall,

Shaker One gives this one 3 olives

Shaker Two bestows 3.5 since it made something she previously viewed as foul a contender for trying again at some point.

Next up was what we viewed as the star of the event – the French Pear Martini.

Hello, darling! St. Germain, spiced-pear vodka, fresh lime juice and a dash of Angostura Bitters… simply lovely. Shaker One, in all her diabolically brilliant mixology glory suggested a splash of something bubbly would even add to this already gorgeous drink. Must try that soon!

We both gave this one 4.25 stars *slurp*!

We are rather glad that we had those two first, as the next drink – the Flak Jacket – was a bit of a disappointment. Now, Shaker One is not a tequila fan unless it is in a margarita so already this was met with a bit of skepticism from her. Shaker Two and Shaker Jenni can appreciate a good sipping tequila and that is about the only thing that made this one palatable to the group. Sadly, the tequila is just too overwhelming for the St Germain, Grand Marnier, orange zest and bitters. Thankfully, they used Partida Anejo for the tequila, so it was smoother than some of the harsher brands, but this drink was still a bit of a disappointment.

Shaker One:

Shaker Two: 

Next on deck was the 40 oz Punch from Damian Windsor.

This was a larger quantity drink for parties (or a bender) consisting of sparkling wine, St. Germain, run (he chose Plantation 5 year Rum), orange and lemon juices. This was not bad, but it was a tad…. boring. Shaker Two thought it tasted like the church punchbowl before the naughty boys spiked it. Slightly pleasant, but we felt that it was a bit too diluted as far as flavors went. Perhaps half the amount of sparkling wine to start.

Shakers gave this one 2.5 olives.

Now for the drink that caused raised eyebrows from both Shakers (neither of which are particular gin fans) and had us thinking we need to revisit the spirit, The English Afterthought. It was not that the drink particularly stood out as a whole, but the flavors were nicely melded and the Plymouth Gin provided a nice accompaniment to the St. Germain, blueberries, ginger and Ginger Beer. We all felt it needed a little bit more sweet to counteract the sour, but not much. The color was lovely and the muddled blueberries looked inviting. We are going to revisit this one or a variation of it – AND gin.

The final drink was another pleasant surprise. Aidan Demarest came up with The Spare Key. This one was a mixture of St. Germain (natch) Woodford Reserve Bourbon, fresh lemon and POM Wonderful. Well done on blending the flavors. You got the slight bite of the bourbon, but it was tempered and complimented with the other flavors. Shaker Two might have toned down the POM a bit – but even that is being nitpicky. Shaker One is looking to revisit bourbon and its possibilities (this solidified it after her sidecar a week or so ago) so score another plus for our mixologists this evening!

Overall, a fun night out and a hop back into the saddle for the Shakers who have been deprived of Shaker fun for a while.


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