The Contributor Q&A: Caroline on Crack


Meet the cocktail expert who keeps our drink blog, Liquid L.A., abuzz

Q: What was your first drink?
The White Russian. It was back when coffee shops were hotspots for mingling à la Friends‘ Central Perk. I was addicted to coffee, and the White Russian was the perfect gateway cocktail.

Q: What inspired you to become a drinks blogger?
I actually started a blog about fun things to do in L.A. that only turned into a blog about cocktails as the drink scene started. I wasn’t even a big drinker in 2005. In 2007 I started to get into whiskey, and that’s when Seven Grand opened. Everyone else was blogging about food but I was drawn to the cocktails.

Q: You’ve been doing it for 10 years. How has the bar scene changed?
It’s changed a bazillion times, from Appletinis to the classic cocktails of the neo speakeasies to farmers’ market fresh to craft versions of bad cocktails. When it started, it was about replicating forgotten classics and there were rules on how to behave in bars. Now it’s just about having a great time while drinking off-menu, bartender’s choice cocktails, rules be damned.

Q: What’s your favorite drink of the moment?
A: The Improved Amaretto Sour based on Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s recipe. Normandie Club’s Daniel Warrilow makes a damn fine one. He switches out the high-proof bourbon for rum and it’s absolutely delicious.

Q: What’s more your speed, classic dive or super scene-y?
A: A combination of both. I like to hit cocktail hotspots on their off nights, like Sunday through Wednesday.

Q: Do you grab a table or a seat at the bar?
A: The bar! I love watching the bartenders making the drinks and having the direct interaction. But I’ll only bug the bartender on slow nights when they have time to chat.

Q: Are you as talented behind the bar as you are at the keyboard?
A: If by “talented” you mean skilled at following cocktail recipe directions, then yes. Like any cocktail enthusiast I have my favorite cocktails that I like to make and drink, like the Manhattan, the Improved Amaretto Sour, and the Vesper.

Q: Angelenos have a reputation for calling it a night early. What keeps you up late?
A: Ha! Actually, I tap out early, too, compared to my fellow drinks bloggers. I’ve never made it to Jumbo’s Clown Room, which is the after-hours spot for many bartenders. I stay out only as long as the conversations are compelling, the action is ongoing, and my energy is up.