About a year and a half ago, J and I fell in love with the cocktail scene in Los Angeles and Portland. We loved it so much we built our own bar. We removed dozens of books from the shelves and made room for spirits. How many bottles? At least 50, plus your smaller bottles of aromatic bitters. To most people out there, it's hard to get past the visual of a blue, artificial-sugar liquid topped with a pineapple and cherry. To some people, cocktails are typically for women and not "manly" as say a glass of fine Scotch. I guarantee you that if you paid a visit to any one of Los Angeles cocktail bars such as The Varnish, La Descarga or Rivera, your perception of a cocktail will dissipate the second you take a sip. Bartenders right now, for the last few years, have started up a revival and it is a very fashionable and exciting time in the restaurant industry.
One night as we were at one of the bars, I watched a bartender meticulously construct a drink like a chef working on plating. He never stopped once to think about the recipe but followed through gracefully with exact measurements, numbered stirs and a final taste. It was essentially art in a glass. I decided that I wanted to capture a few of the bartenders during this revival that have really re-introduced the enjoyment and sophistication of drinking a cocktail.
This is the fruit of a laborious 6 months. Would love to hear your thoughts.