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Posted in All Posts, Los Angeles on April 17th, 2007


A Night in the Tropics

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Published: July 17, 2005

Culver City, Calif.

Culver City, Calif.

METEOROLOGISTS call it the calm before the storm. For a bartender, it’s that hour or so of eerie tranquillity when the scrape of a stool squeaks loudly. “It doesn’t get going until later, and then it gets really crazy,” Brittany Istre said as she swabbed the bar at Carbon, a gritty club on a dejected stretch of boulevard in a suburb of Los Angeles. Only three people hunched over their drinks on this Tuesday night. It didn’t look promising.


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Stephanie Diani for The New York Times

If it’s Tuesday, it must be reggae by the bar at Carbon.

Then, at 11, two leggy women rolled in like thunderclouds, and the forecast changed. These women did not primp for nothing. Tuesday is reggae night at Carbon, and some of the city’s best dance D.J.’s – Benji Brotha, Phers 1 and Suckapunch – spin here. Within 15 minutes, the bar was half full with a crowd mostly Ethiopian, Jamaican and Latino. “It’s not fancy, but the music is cutting edge,” said Gabrielle Arana, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I have been to lots of expensive clubs in Hollywood that aren’t half as cool and intimate. The dance floor has a real pulse.”

Come midnight the tiny dance floor had spread like a spilled drink. When limber people move to reggae, they shimmy and sway like seasoned sailors rolling to a boat’s rhythm. “You don’t come here to talk about work,” said Benji Brotha, 37, who took the first watch at the turntable. “You come to dance.” Expect to sweat, too. Carbon is windowless and heats up faster than a George Foreman grill once it fills up.

Lots of the men had white towels snaked around their necks or peaking from their back pockets. One woman seductively dabbed between her breasts with an ice cube and pretended not to notice that a group of guys had encircled her. When she popped the melting cube into her mouth, one man feigned collapse. She didn’t blink.

“Reggae is very sexy music, and the men on the dance floor are definitely ready to pounce on you,” Yvette Boudry, 24, said. “You just have to give him that look that says, ‘Look all you want, but hands off, baby.’ ”


9300 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, Calif.; (310) 558-9302.

GETTING IN No cover.

DRESS CODE Wedge heels, cleavage and gold bangle bracelets for women; Puma sweat suits and flip-flops for men.

SIGHTINGS Gavin Rossdale, Kid Rock, Pamela Anderson.

D.J. PICKS “One Thing” by Amerie; Marcia Griffiths’s cover of “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

SIGNATURE DRINK The Incredible Hulk, a shot of Hennessy and a shot of Hpnotiq liqueur over ice, $10. Yes, it’s neon green.

G’Vine Floraison Gin Cocktails

Posted in All Posts, Drink Recipies on April 13th, 2007

Friday Happy Hour: G’Vine Floraison Gin Cocktails

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I just reviewed G’Vine Floraison Gin de France and realized it’s Friday… which means Friday Happy Hour is upon us. So I thought you might like some G’Vine cocktail recipes to enjoy.

G’Vine Cosmo
2 oz. G’Vine
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
Shake, strain, and serve with a twist of orange

2 oz. G’Vine
Squeeze of lemon
Dash of simple syrup
Dash of Angostura bitters
Serve on the rocks, garnish with a twist of lemon

Continue reading Friday Happy Hour: G’Vine Floraison Gin Cocktails

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How To Drink Alone

Posted in All Posts on April 13th, 2007

How to drink alone

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I think there’s a misconception about drinking alone. A lot of people I know see drinking alone as a sign that you’re depressed, lonely, unsocial, or a combo of all three. I don’t think this is true or not. Sure, if you’re face down in the gutter with a bottle of whiskey in a brown paper bag, that’s one thing. But that’s different than sitting at home in your comfortable chair, reading a book or listening to music, drinking alone. Like many other things in life, it comes down to location, location, location.

Modern Drunkard magazine lays down the rules in a piece entitled The Zen of Drinking Alone. Some of the rules include Find Your Circle of Solitude (find your quiet space, turn off the TV), Choose Your Moderator (whiskey on the rocks is Johnny Carson, a cocktail is Conan O’Brien), and The Sound of Isolation, which is what music you pick to drink to (no rap or heavy metal – the point is to mellow out).

And always remember: the monkey never forgets.

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The Napoleon Noir

Posted in All Posts, Drink Recipies on April 13th, 2007

Friday Happy Hour: The Napoleon Noir

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Napoleon NoirI like it when drinks are easy to make. This is the Napoloean Noir, and the recipe is pretty simple:

1 part Cognac
1 part coffee liqueur

Pour over ice in a rocks glass. Drink accordingly.

You can’t get any easier than that, unless you pour yourself a glass of water or something. I actually found this drink while doing a search for “noir drinks.” Yeah, maybe an odd thing to search for, but I’m a fan of noir movies (and, um, drinking) so I thought I’d do a search and see what I found. I also found the web site for the Noir Bar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA, which I’ve been meaning to visit one of these days because I’ve heard great things about it. They have noir drinks too, including the L.A. Confidential, the Dirty Harry, the Black Dahlia, and the Blue Velvet.

I think I’m gonna go there soon.

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Pat O’Briens Mardi Gras Hurricane

Posted in All Posts, Drink Recipies on April 13th, 2007

Mardi Gras Happy Hour: Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane

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Happy Mardi Gras folks! Just about everyone who has been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans has had one of Pat O’Brien’s Hurricanes. A tall red drink served in a 24 oz. Hurricane glass which looks like the tall glass chimney of an old fashioned oil hurricane lamp. Sipping a Hurricane is one of the most popular ways to celebrate when in New Orleans, and I’ve had my share back in the years when I made my annual pilgrimage to Mardi Gras. It’s a tasty drink with a bit of a kick, the saving grace is that it is served in a tall glass filled with ice so you can sip it slowly. If you slurp it down fast, then after a few you’re gonna feel like you went through a hurricane yourself. Your clothes will start to come off, your popularity will soar, and you’ll soon be wearing a lot of Mardi Gras beads and pearls.

Pat O’Brien operated a speakeasy during prohibition called Mr. O’Brien’s Club Tipperary. The semi-secret password to get in was “storm’s brewin”. Then in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition Pat O’Brien moved
across the street and opened Pat O’Brien’s and a while later in 1942 moved to the present location at 718 St. Peter Street. The Hurricane was created at Pat O’Brien’s some time in the 1940’s during the war years. Whiskey was hard to get but rum was plentiful and to order a case of whiskey a bar had to order as many as 50 cases of rum first. So Pat O’Brien created this punch like drink to make use of the available rum.

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Minted Bourbon

Posted in All Posts, Drink Recipies on April 13th, 2007

Monday Happy Hour: Minted Bourbon

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Granted, this isn’t actually a Mardi Gras cocktail per se, however the ingredients are meant to give a nod to the South nonetheless. I actually stumbled upon it one day while looking for a Mint Julep recipe – this is just a slight variation of the original. It’s now on my rotation of drinks to serve at a party because it always garners such positive response. Adjust the ingredients to suit your own personal taste, if desired.

Minted Bourbon
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 oz sugar syrup (recipe can be found here)
2 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2-3 sprigs of fresh mint
Sparkling water or soda
Crushed ice

Muddle mint leaves with lemon juice. Add simple syrup, bourbon, and ice. Shake or stir until well mixed. Strain into a tall glass over ice, and top with sparkling water or soda. Garnish with mint leaves or a lemon wedge.

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Hot Toddy for one, Hot Cider Punch for thirty

Posted in All Posts, Drink Recipies on April 13th, 2007

Friday Happy Hour: Hot Toddy for one, Hot Cider Punch for thirty

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I’m not sure how cold it is where you are, but here tonight it’s supposed to be around 9 degrees (and with the wind, etc, etc it’s even colder). So we need something to keep us warm. You could try tea, you could try soup, maybe sitting in front of a fireplace. You could even try cutting open the carcass of a large dead animal and crawling inside, like in oneof the Star Wars movies.

Or, you could make a hot alcoholic drink. If you’re alone, you can make a Hot Toddy. If you’re having a party with thirty of more people, you could make a Hot Cider Punch. Either way, you’ll warm up quick. To paraphrase the Campbell’s commercial: “Warm up to alcohol, booze is good food.”

Continue reading Friday Happy Hour: Hot Toddy for one, Hot Cider Punch for thirty

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