Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Dec 8, 2011

Libation Location: Bar Keeper

It's not often that I make my way over to Silver Lake, but when I do, I make a point to stop over at Bar Keeper along Sunset Junction (3910 W. Sunset Blvd).  The shop itself may be small, but I'm always impressed by how well-curated the libations are that Joe the Bar Keeper has in stock.  If I'm buying my usual liquors, I just hit up a Bev-Mo, but if I'm looking to find something new or hard-to-find, then I know I can't go wrong at Bar Keeper.  Everyone that works there is extremely friendly and knowledgeable.  You're not going to get a blank stare like you do at Bev-Mo when you walk in and ask for Cynar, and those Bev-Mo employees pronounce it wrong anyway...

They have an especially well-curated cart of bitters in the middle of the room with the usual Angostura, Peychauds, Fees and Regans lines, along with the rarer Bitter Truth or the local Miracle Mile brands (check out that lovely pic from Tasting Table).  Other mixers such as orgeat, falernum (hmm, a libation education on those in the future?), pickle brine and rosewater can also be found here and get the Lush Chef all excited about experimenting.  I recently stocked up on some pretty amber glass bottles for the bitters I'm making.  More on that next week.  They also have a nice selection of practical and fun barware and glassware that ranges from classic to whimsical.  I couldn't help purchasing a set of sturdy coupe glasses for $6 a piece.  The Lush Chef is "so over" pouring 3 oz cocktails into a giant martini glass reminiscent of those "Sex and the City" days.

When the holidays roll around, Joe starts contacting local mixologists to put together cocktail gift boxes, which include all the tools and ingredients needed to make a particular drink.  Choices include Matthew Biancaniello's (Library Bar) Kentucky Bubble Bath, Eric Alperin's (The Varnish) Colonial Ties, David Kupchinsky's (The Tar Pit) Oaxacan Angel, as well as some more classic cocktails like a Manhattan or a Sazerac.  Look out for that chemistry-inspired sign along Sunset and you're sure to go all mad cocktail scientist when walking out the door with your purchases.