Nowadays, you constantly hear all about the craft beer revolution, and how new local breweries are popping up all over the place. However, when was the last time you heard of craft cocktails? In fact, before this past Saturday evening, I had never even heard the term “craft cocktail.” Boy, have I been missing out! Thanks to author and craft cocktail connoisseur, Doni Belau, a new world of delicious drinks has been opened up for my exploration.
In the early evening of Saturday, January 23, 2016, Doni Belau hosted a unique event, as she took attendees on an adventure to explore the world of craft cocktails. Doni has spent more than here fair share of time in Paris, and focuses on bringing the romance and elegance of the city of lights into our lives through the gift of cocktails. There could not have been a more suitable venue to hold such a gathering than one of the most romantic restaurants and bars in Los Angeles with a distinct French flair- The Little Door. What better way to start off your Saturday night than with a cocktail tasting accompanied by French nibbles, a mini-mixology class and discussion led by Doni, and a signed copy of Ms. Belau’s book Paris Cocktails with 100 recipes and 100 bars from Paris?
Everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves as they socialized with their neighbors, while drinks and appetizers were being served. The Little Door is such a wonderful hidden spot with possibly the cutest courtyard in all of Los Angeles. It proved to be the perfect place for such an event, creating an outstanding ambiance. As guests received each of their drinks, its ingredients were thoroughly explained.
The first drink we were treated to was called Bisous du Soleil and was made from mixing French Vodka, a dash of Cointreau, cranberry juice, juice of lime, juice of orange and champagne together. This cocktail had a fruity taste to it, but was not too sweet. It seemed to be the perfect drink to sip on a hot sunny day in LA.
The second drink we tried was called The Soiree. Its ingredients included Citadelle Gin, Pamplemousse Rose liqueur, and juice of a lemon. This proved to be the most popular drink at our table of the three. The gin was present in this cocktail, but not overpowering at all.
Our third and last drink was called The Last Call. It is easy to make with ingredients of only Bastille Whiskey and Sorel (Hibiscus Liqueur). Adding a hibiscus flower as garnish is also a nice touch. This smooth tasting drink was the perfect cocktail to end on.
After everyone was served, Doni led a brief discussion speaking about all the different cocktails we had sampled and her experience in Paris. The biggest takeaway for me was learning what craft cocktails are all about. Craft cocktails are made with much more care than your typical mixed drinks and deliver a much more satisfying experience. The process of creating such cocktails includes really focusing on the drink’s flavor and using only the highest quality of ingredients.
Doni’s goal for this type of an event are twofold. First, she wants her guests to enjoy the entire experience and leave having felt a sense of adventure. Second, she wants guests to depart having a greater understanding of the craft cocktail movement and what is needed in order to make superb drinks. I think I speak for everyone there when I say: she absolutely succeeded in both goals!
About Doni Belau
“Doni Belau first saw Paris at the tender age of 18 and fell in love. She has been regularly visiting or living in her favorite city ever since. In 2009, Ms. Belau founded the website www.GirlsGuidetoParis.com, an insider’s guide to the city of light. The site includes her hand picked favorites restaurants, bars, hotels, apartments, and activities to experience Paris like a native. It also features blogs written by Ms. Belau and many other contributors, D.I.Y. walking tours, and the popular GO-Card for Paris-bound travelers. After six years, the site has grown to 1.5 million readers per year and is one of the foremost Anglophone guides for travelers to France, In 2014, Doni authored the online guidebook EAT in Paris. She divides her time between New York City, Paris, and the Bordeaux region, where she shares a home with her husband and two grown children.”