McCormick & Schmicks - Celebrating the American Cocktail!

Jarrad demonstrating how to "spank" herbs to bring out the flavor

McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating the history of the American Cocktail with the launch of their new drink menu.

Fresh Fruits and Herbs

Elaine Doran of EL Doran Public Relations invited us to be a part of the celebration and it was quite a fun little bash.  Accompanying Elaine was her extremely talented artist-husband Richard Doran, who makes the most exquisite clay form ceramic vessels with amazing color and textures of nature. Satsuma is the name of his Noho gallery.

Elaine and Richard Doran

We were entertained and taken back through the history of the American cocktail by Jarrad Harris who is the only National Head Bartender for McCormick & Schmick’s.  He trains the other bartenders and is quite intent on creating drinks that are properly prepared.

Jarrad Harris showing how to properly shake not stir

McCormick & Schmick’s only uses fresh squeezed juices, and each cocktail is made hands-on and one at a time.

Set up for us to learn mixology

Jarrad is a wonderful storyteller and had our attention from beginning to end, but then again we were also making and having some of his delicious infusions. The first cocktail was invented on May 13,1806.  It contained bitters, simple syrup, water, ice and the main spirit, rye whiskey.  Jarrad said the Old Fashion now is the drink closest to the original recipe.
1865-1950 was the age of the cocktail, but then prohibition started.  

Another interesting fact we learned from Jarrad was that George Washington had the largest rye distillery while he was president.

Lawrence Davis, publisher of Splash Magazines Worldwide

Then the fun really began when we each given turns at learning how to make the cocktails we were celebrating.  

Amanda Cortez of LA Splash shakes it up

In developing its new cocktail program, McCormick & Schmick’s researched and recreated nearly 50 of the world’s finest libations. They use lots of fresh fruits including kiwis, grapefruit, cherries, oranges, grapes, lemons and limes.  “Throughout McCormick & Schmick’s history they have always emphasized traditional mixology hand mixing cocktails with all fresh ingredients.”

Jean Patterson and Doug Davis

According to Jarrad “any true cocktail has to have a garnish.”  Jarrad also explained how we must “spank” the fresh herbs such as the fresh mint and fresh basil in order to release the oils and flavor.  We were getting quite a laugh watching everyone "spanking" the herbs.

Spank that basil!

Not only were we being served yummy cocktails at McCormick & Schmick's in Downtown LA; we also were treated with delectable appetizers.  The finale was when General Manager, Paul Roohanie treated us to platters of scrumptious desserts including the best tiramisu I’ve ever eaten.

General Manager Paul Roohanie

Delicious appetizers, fruit and sushi

Yes I’ve got your back----of course I got Jarrad to let me steal the recipes so you can make them yourself.

Judith Orr learning the correct way to shake it up

The Raspberry Crusta: The class of Crusta cocktails (named for the sugar encrusted on the rim of the glass) was invented in the 1850’s by Joe Santini and is widely alleged to be the great-grandfather of the Sidecar, the Margarita and the Cosmopolitan.
1/2oz. Simple syrup
1oz.fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Maraschino liquor
couple dashes of bitters1
1/2 oz. of Raspberry Vodka
Add Ice last
Shake drink-10 forward into shaker.  Strain with Julep Strainer.
Dip martini glass in sugar
Garnish with a cherry

Michael Burr Editor of Hollywood Reporter

Moscow Mule
In 1946, J ack Morgan who owned the Cock & Bull Restaurant in Los Angeles ushered in what was considered the Trojan Horse of the Cocktail Era.
He was unsuccessfully trying to sell Ginger Beer in copper mugs when in came John Martin who owned Vodka from Russia, which also wasn’t selling.  Jack decided to pot the two together and the mixture of Ginger Beer and Vodka became known as the Moscow Mule.  This was the catalyst that brought Vodka to the forefront in the 1900’s.
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. lime juice
1 1/2 oz. vodka
pureed ginger
Add ice and shake.  Strain with julep strainer and top with club soda and garnish with lime.

Pisco Sour
Quickly resurfacing across the country, this truly unique cocktail was noted in Charles Baker’s “The South American Gentlemen’s Companion.”
Pisco (a Peruvian white grape brandy made from the fermented juice of Muscat grapes).
3/4 oz. lemon
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. Pisco
1 oz. egg whites
Angustura Bitters
Add ice last.  Shake vigorously (at least 12 shakes).
Strain with Julep Stainer.  This gets frothy due to the egg whites.
Last put in few dashes of Angustura Bitters
Garnish with fresh grapes

Erika Gadson of LA Splash Magazine

Basil Grape Refresher
Refreshing and unforgettable.
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. lemon juice
5 grapes-put in bottom of glass
5 or 6 leaves fresh basil
Ginger ale
First “spank” your basil.  Then make an umbrella of the basil in bottom of shaker/ and add grapes and mash up grapes and basil. Add rest of ingredients except the ginger ale.  Shake at least 10 shakes.

Strain with julep strainer.  Top with ginger ale.

Well that’s it guys.  Enjoy!

Photos© Judith Orr



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