Shift Drink: Marissa Grasmick, Bar Director at Santa Monica’s aestus

A bitter-heavy classic does the trick at closing time

Welcome to Shift Drink, where we take a peek into the post-shift drinking habits of L.A.’s finest food and drink personalities.

Marissa Grasmick, Bar Director of Santa Monica’s  aestus, and formerly of The Varnish and Boulder’s The Bitter Bar, has always loved the classics. At aestus she has been able to build a cocktail list comprised solely of those very things, usually with a fresh take and homemade elements. Whether it’s her Grasshopper or Gin & House Tonic, the cocktails are clean and simple without losing complexity, and complement the seasonally-inspired menu and terroirdriven wine list created by sommelier/owner Kevin O’Connor. Read on to see which classic continues to be her go-to drink at the end of the night and how to make it for yourself.

What’s your shift drink?
The aestus bar program is rooted in the classics. Every drink on the menu is a tried and true pre-existing cocktail from either prohibition/Golden Age or a modern classic. My favorite drink—that is on our menu currently—to have after work is the Trinidad Sour. I have a special connection to this drink as it was one of the first that I learned back when I was beginning as a bartender at The Bitter Bar in Boulder, Colo. My friend and co-worker said “Hey, I found this recipe, let’s try to make it.” I have been hooked on this drink ever since I took my first sip of the one I made! With rye whiskey, bitters, orgeat, and lemon juice, it is perfectly balanced with a nice bitterness that I love! It’s an unusual cocktail because it calls for 1 oz. of angostura bitters…yum!”

Trinidad Sour
credit: Giuseppe Gonzalez from the Clover Club in Brooklyn

.5 oz. rye whiskey

.75 oz. orgeat (we use Small Hands, a CA brand)

.75 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 oz. angostura bitters

Prep: build ingredients in shaker tins, shake with one large block of ice, double-strain, coupe, no garnish.