I wear many hats in the city of Los Angeles. While I await the next juicy role or book release, I serve up shots of cheer and stories to patrons from all walks of life. My side career as a bartender began in various nightclubs of New York City, where the fact that I was young and had a smooth flat belly helped with extra tips. Over a decade later, I have evolved in the service industry as a bartender at private, celebrity events and a mixologist with a deeper appreciation for aged alcohol and the marriage of select flavors.
On week nights, I can be found behind the bar at Spice Affair, a brand new fine dining Indian restaurant in Beverly Hills. As the head mixologist, I have spent the last few months stocking shelves that started off empty, organizing the bar program, and carefully developing signature cocktails. Looking back, I reflect at the different joints in which I have been employed. I've come a long way from the sticky counter dive bar scene.
I arrive at each shift passing the modern Bollywood style fountain at the entrance reflecting the crimson lights of the newly-opened establishment. Colorful Brazilian agate hang against the back wall of the lounge lit by the romantic glow of dim lighting. However, most spectacular of all is the wide bar surface constructed with more agate lit from within. My patrons rest their arms on the cool surface sipping on my creations and engaging in stories.
I have long since come to discover that alcohol fosters honest conversations that are otherwise hidden under the plastic nature of our LA culture. Alcohol allows us to unwind and disarm ourselves. However, in the end, it is not the alcohol that relieves our stress, but rather the conversations it lends itself into.
In my mid 20s, many decisions were made and fears were faced over a bottle of two-dollar pinot grigio (aka two buck chuck) with my friends Aaron and Melissa from bar to bar and living room to living room. The clinking of our glasses led to daily life reports, hysterical laughter, and eventually lasting bonds.
Later on, as a bachelor, my roommate and best friend at that time had a bi-weekly ritual we fondly named, “Scotch Night.” The rules were quite simple but proved to be life changing. During these nights, we locked the doors, dimmed the lights, turned off our phones and allowed ourselves to breathe. We would then savor our scotch from a bottle of Glenlivit 12, which we nursed for several months.
On scotch nights, there were no secrets. No question was off limits. The result was a deep trust and a truly authentic friendship that got us through many difficult transitions. Thus is the power of the intentional night cap.
As a bartender, I welcome friends and strangers alike to enter into an expectation-free enviroment. In this space, I aim to take you back to Cheers! - “where everybody knows your name”. My patrons have the freedom to relax and connect with friends or enter into dialogue with me about life in Los Angeles. I then share with you the stories behind my craft cocktails, inviting you into the experience of the first sip. Perhaps by the end of each encounter you might be laughing, being reminded that life is too short and precious to sweat the small stuff.
So it is with excitement that I devote the next few months of my blog to mixology and anecdotes I acquire from this eclectic city. Join me here each week as I share my recipes and my stories. Invite me to bartend your private parties and I will serve you with the same care I extend to my celebrity patrons. Come and share my love of mixology in person at Spice Affair in Beverly Hills. Indulge, sip, and savor because you can’t afford not to!