Although I still have tons to say and lots of pictures to post of my trip to Asia, let’s go back to our regularly scheduled programming for a bit.
A few weeks ago, I finally made it to The Tasting Kitchen on that trendy strip of Abbot Kinney in Venice thanks to a write-up about it on eatdrinknbmerry. Although the dishes on their menu, an emphasis on house-made pasta, were all things I’d eat, so far I’ve only tried their cocktails.
On my first visit there, Devin Espinosa (you may have heard of him from such films as BreadBar’s Hatchi Mix Series) was tending the bar and was full of smiles and enthusiasm.
I asked him to make me a Little Italy and he admitted that he wasn’t familiar with the drink, but after he learned the ingredients, he proceeded to make it wonderfully. Deceptively good for a first try.
My cousin, who accompanied me, was feeling under the weather so I suggested she order a Hot Toddy. As luck would have it, The Tasting Kitchen has a special version of the drink with freshly squeezed ginger. This was one of the best Hot Toddy’s I’d ever tasted. It was warm, boozy, and slightly sweet with the punch-in-the-face spice of ginger. My cousin was feeling much better after that.
Will ordered a Vieux Carré and when he tasted what Devin mixed up, he declared it one of the best Vieux Carré’s he’d ever had.
From the handful of drinks we ordered, I could see that Devin is skilled in the art of balancing drinks. I was afraid that the various bottles of house-made bitters, cherries were all for show, but after my first sip, my fears were quelled. The only negative thing I can say about The Tasting Kitchen’s drinks is that they’re all the way in Venice, which is a long way to drive if I’m at home on the east side.
The Tasting Kitchen
1633 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291-3744
Is it true? Come for the drinks, then leave Venice all together? I still can’t decipher the menu, but hot toddies & vieux carre are self-explanatory.
Yep, pretty much. I was going to go for lunch once, but alas they’re not open.
The first time I was there, we were already in the area (mediocre meal @ Gjelina) but we did drive specifically to that area one night for the drinks.
Maybe it’s because I don’t drink all too often, but what exactly is in a Hot Toddy?
Anything to eat at the at the Tasting Kitchen?
A Hot Toddy is a warm alcoholic drink; the most typical is whiskey of some sort, honey, hot water, lemon, and spices. Said to be good for colds.
And yeah – Tasting Kitchen has a full menu.
We should go sometime!
I love cocktails! But I’ve never come across Little Italy before? What’s in it?
Little Italy is like a Manhattan, but with Cynar (an artichoke amaro) instead of aromatic bitters. It’s got a slightly more bitter finish than a Manhattan.
I usually use 2 parts rye, 1 part sweet vermouth, and half a part Cynar.