The Los Angeles dining scene has never gotten the respect it deserves. From inexpensive and authentic ethnic cuisine to innovative fine dining, a great meal is only a few freeway exits away. Only recently has Los Angeles finally started receiving recognition as one of the great American food cities (Chicago and New York, watch your back).
While I see the rise of the LA dining scene as a slow and overdue, it feels like the cocktail scene in LA has only emerged in the past 5 or 6 years. Now, you can find sophisticated and well-crafted $14 cocktails all over town at places like the Tar Pit , Varnish, Edison, and my personal favorite, Copa D’Oro. While a masterfully crafted cocktail using unique ingredients can be as titillating as any amuse bouche, it is inevitable that one night you will catch yourself rolling your eyes at the whole self-important bowtie mixology scene. Enter Alie and Georgia…
Alie and Georgia met at Silverlake’s Cha Cha Lounge and realized that in addition to sharing a penchant for adorable outfits and colorful humor, they both saw that LA needed an injection of fun into their boozing habits. This prompted them to post a video of the now infamous, “McNuggetini,” an unholy alliance of Vanilla Vodka, McDonald’s Chocolate Shake, Chicken McNuggets, and BBQ sauce. Food2.com took notice, and starting this past September, they began posting videos to “shake up the cocktail scene.”
I first heard about Alie & Georgia when I stumbled upon their presentation at the LA Times Celebration of Food and Wine event on September 5, 2010. Whether it was their spirited rapport or the promise of taking a break from wine to taste some interesting cocktails, their demonstration was actually the only one that sustained my attention that day. At the end of the demonstration, I got to try the Umami Elixir (Garlic-infused vodka, vermouth, truffle oil, anchovies for garnish), Chocolate Cherry Bomb (Chocolate Liqueur, Pepper-Infused Vodka, Hot Sauce, Grenadine, Chocolate Syrup, Peppers & Cherries), and the Peanut Butter and Jealous. Later in the event, I bumped into Alie & Georgia and they were even more delightful and fun than their videos can hope to convey. Stories were shared and promises were made to become “online friends.”
Fast forward to this past weekend. I hosted a housewarming party on Saturday and wanted to do something exciting for the drinks. My first thought was making a few historically-accurate and interesting punches from Professor David Wondrich’s new book. Fancy punches are starting to creep their way onto restaurant menus and at cocktail bars. But I quickly reconsidered. I wanted something fun and grounded to go with some of my more unique appetizers (Goat Cheese Log with Cyprus Black Lava Salt and Organic Cacao Nibs anyone?). I turned to Alie and Georgia’s inventive, fun, and guaranteed crowd-pleasing recipes.
I ended up making three of their concoctions. The first was Drunken Donuts (my writer/comedian roommate Josh provided the illustrated cards). Drunken Donuts made a great first drink: excellent taste, provides a caffeine boost, and will get you buzzed without even knowing it. It is made of espresso vodka, chocolate liqueur, coffee liqueur, chilled coffee, and hazelnut coffee creamer. And don’t you dare forget the donut hole garnish!
Booze, Coffee, and Dessert all in one glass
The second drink I attempted was the Peanut Butter and Jealous. It involved muddled raspberries, raspberry vodka, cranberry juice, and raspberry liqueur. It is supposed to include a rim of honey and peanut butter, but I gave up after awhile because I mistakenly used creamy peanut butter and the glass became an ugly mess. Most of my friends were skeptical when the saw this fruity looking drink with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich garnish, but people LOVED it.
The third drink I made was Zombie Gut Punch. It included vodka, triple sec, bitters, blood orange juice, black cherry soda, and grenadine. I served it in a beautiful punch bowl with a ladle, but by the time I brought it out, I was too distracted (and tipsy) to remember to take pictures. This drink was definitely popular with people that wanted to get drunk quickly (pretty much all of my friends) with something that is still fun and tastes great.
I suggest everyone check out Alie & Georgia’s short videos, and consider doing something different than just setting out some bottles of Jack and Vodka with sodas and juices as mixers at your next party. A little extra effort can yield some tasty and boozy results.