Last Wednesday I attended Cocktail Hour at Terrine to sip some of mixologist Ryan Wainwright’s new summer cocktails. His focus is to make spirits the stars. His bar is filled with bowls of fresh fruit and little bottles of colorful bitters. Wainwright is a stickler on quality ingredients and detailed execution. He has taken creativity to a new level that wow’d me. I tried getting up close to watch this talented bartender, yet never had an opportunity. Instead, Marlene standing near Wainwright enlightened me about the new summer libations. What I noticed at this bar are bottles of spirits you don’t see everyday. I sampled a few of Terrine’s dineLA Summer menu items, while sipping the following cocktails:
Bright and Bubbly category I ordered the Route de Menton. Terrine is French in decor, French in cuisine and French in their wines and cocktails. This was served in a large wine glass, as Marlene measured St. George Citrus vodka – a zesty vodka made from California-grown Valencia oranges, Seville oranges, and bergamot. A little lemon juice, orange juice and honey is added. Then a healthy pour of Prosecco and a splash of China-China – an aperitif that is chestnut-brown in color offering a citrus melange of aromas. It’s poured over large square ice cubes and garnished with a slice of orange.
In the Crisp and Refreshing Category I opted for The French Cowboy made with Vago Espadin Mezcal from Puerto Escondido on Oaxaca. There are light aromas of sweet potato and citrus with a whisper of anise and banana. Fresh lime juice, honey and Aancho Ryes – based on a 1927 recipe from Puebla, Mexico known for its ancho chiles, which are dried and smoked poblanos. This was dazzled with smoked sea salt.
A pretty cocktail was the pink Angels Bay made with Diplomatico Blanco Rum aged up to 6 years to achieve balance, body and softness. Marlene added lime juice, strawberry, honey, Amaro Lucano – a spirit produced by a family owned company in Pisticci, Basilicata. It was originally made as a blend of over 30 herbs by a pastry chef in the late 1890s. It’s a base used in cocktails or an after meal digestif. At the end this cocktail has a touch of Pernod Absinthe. A strawberry garnishes this beauty.
Those looking for a strong anise flavor will enjoy Le Vieux Port made with Bombay Dry Gin, lime juice, orgeat, cucumber, housemade creme de menthe and Bicard Pastis (created in 1951 when the ban on anise-based aperitifs was lifted in France). This looks like a mojito, yet tastes like black licorice. Crushed ice is piled high above the glass and its garnished with a sprig of mint. I loved the added touch of serving this cocktail in a deep silver coaster. Well done, especially when the ice starts melting and the cocktail overflows. It’s meant to be sipped on a regular basis, otherwise as the ice melts, it appears as if you have never taken your first sip.
My favorite surprise cocktail was served in a dainty china tea cup – The Espresso “Martini” made with Jacked Wheatley vodka (pure and crisp on the nose with a fresh and clean taste finishes with hint of soft vanilla). Menotti’s cold coffee that is made in Venice, CA is added with Cafe Moka, Kailua, cream and orange bitters. It looks like a cappuccino, yet is a cold cocktail. An added touch is a square shortbread that has been brushed with rum. It’s crisp on the corners, yet soft in the middle, due to the alcohol absorbing into the cookie. A spiked cookie? I like this a lot!
Visit Terrine for a cocktail or two before you indulge into one or two of Chef Kris Morningstar’s creative dishes. Stephane Bombet and Francois Renaud are on hand to make sure the restaurant is running smoothly.
From July 17 to July 31 they will be offering a dineLA Summer menu, as well as their regular menu. A multi course lunch is $15 and three-course dinner is $39 per person. Terrine – 8265 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048 – Phone:(323) 746-5130 – Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – 5:30–11:30 p.m- Reservations – click on OpenTable.