Image courtesy Hinoki & The Bird
Even though the opening of chef David Myers’ new Century City restaurant Hinoki & the Bird had suffered from one delay after another (the grand opening is now slated for this Saturday*), one bit of good awesome news is that the chef has once again tapped New York mixologist Sam Ross (Milk & Honey) to handle the cocktail program.
[*UPDATE (3:08 p.m.): A publicist alerts us that the restaurant is open tonight for dinner.]
For those not familiar with the name, Ross is responsible for training L.A.’s own superstar bartenders Julian Cox (Rivera, Playa, Picca) and Joel Black (Caña Rum Bar, Three Clubs) when he launched the cocktail program at West Hollywood’s Comme Ça back in 2007. He’s only been on the cocktail scene for less than a decade and already has a legacy. You can thank him for those big blocks of ice in cocktails, new twists on classics and Penicillin.
Hinoki’s drink menu features 14 cocktails with “a California flair but using a solid classic cocktail foundation.” However, chef Myers also wanted it to be different from Comme Ça and more complementary to the new restaurant’s Californian-Asian aesthetic. But rather than load it up with crazy nori infusions and Japanese names, the drinks are made in “Tokyo cocktail style,” which means using produce that is at the height of its season. “Every couple of weeks we’ll go to the chefs and say, ‘Give us two fruits that are just perfectly in season,’” said Ross.
The seasonal cocktails are divided up into four categories of “Cups,” “Swizzles,” “Negroni & the like,” and “Quaffers.” A quaffer is a double-tiered stacked glassware which divides the cocktail in two parts, one filled with the spirit and the other with fresh juice. The Negroni section presents four different variations on the classic cocktail, which happens to be Ross’ favorite libation. In addition to the traditional Negroni—made with gin, sweet vermouth, and a bittering liqueur—there’s also a rum Negroni, a White Negroni, and a delicious-sounding “Harajuku Negroni” with Hakushu Single Malt Whiskey, Gran Classico bitter, Byrrh Grand Quinquina, and chocolate bitters.
But the Die Hard fan in me is excited to check out the quaffer cocktail called “Nakatomi Plaza” (Century City Fox Plaza’s fictitious name in the Die Hard movie). Choya Umeshu plum wine, Yamazaki whiskey and fresh pressed green apple? Yippee-ki-yay, indeed.
(All the cocktails are priced at $14.)
- Gordon’s Cup—gin, muddled lime, cucumber, Sichuan pepper, and salt
- Tangerine Caipirissima—white rum, lime, tangerine, and brown sugar
- Bird Cup—muddled citrus, cucumber, mint, and ginger
- Hinoki Swizzle—amontillado sherry, St. Germain, fresh green apple, and Champagne
- Dark ‘n Stormy—Bermuda rum, fresh ginger, and lime
- Griffith Park Swizzle—bourbon, mint, lime, bitters, and absinthe
- Seasonal Fix—gin, rum, and vodka or tequila, served with fresh lemon over muddled seasonal fruit
Negroni & the like
- Classic Negroni—gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, rocks, and an orange twist
- White Negroni—Amère Sauvage, bianco vermouth, rocks, and a grapefruit twist
- Harajuku—Hakushu single malt whiskey, Gran Classico, Byrrh Quinquina, and chocolate bitters
- Kingston Negroni—Smith + Cross Jamaican rum, Gran Classico, sweet vermouth, rocks, and an orange twist
- Tommy’s #2—tequila or mezcal, lime, orange, and agave
- Jungle Bird—Black Strap rum, pineapple, lime, and Campari
- Nakatomi Plaza—Choya plum wine, Yamazaki whisky, and fresh pressed green apple
Hinoki & The Bird, 10 W Century Dr., Century City, HinokiAndTheBird.com