The Holidays are in full swing and as the twinkle lights go up, and sunny Los Angeles gets a bit chillier, it’s the perfect time to get festive with friends. What’s exciting about the holidays in this city is that there is never a shortage of restaurants concocting new and unique specialities that reflect our seasonal palettes. As you look for a place to cozy up with delicious cocktails, make sure to take note of Gracias Madre–an absolute gem located in the West Hollywood Design District. Gracias Madre is a beautiful restaurant and bar that specializes in quality vegan food with a Mexican culinary flair. And this week, their Beverage Director Jason Eisner shows us how he has crafted drinks with holiday nostalgia.
To me, Gracias Madre is the absolute embodiment of the holiday spirit. We revere the celebration of food, craft spirits, and the wonderful memories that human beings create together while sharing gifts around a table. The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to share the idea of eating and drinking seasonal ingredients. How many times have you heard “This drink tastes like Christmas”? Inspired by this sensory acknowledgment of what the season brings, I’ve concocted three libations for visitors to enjoy.
The first cocktail I created this holiday season is called “The Three Miracles.” The Three Miracles is a pretty fun little concoction, one that I hope you enjoy drinking as much as I enjoy making it! Inside the glass sits three base spirits– and in reality, spirits are an absolute miracle for two very important reasons. For starters, spirits are a vehicle that change our perception of consciousness and for a short period of time allow us to see our world through a different set of lenses. The truth is that without spirits, you and I wouldn’t even be here. Around the time caveman invented the wheel, people starting dying of dysentery in their water; they soon discovered that if they poured wine into their water, it would cleanse it of harmful bacteria. To celebrate the Three Miracles, there are three spherical ice cubes of Absinthe floating atop one another. The Three Miracles are as follows: a Mezcal Espadin infused with the nine main botanicals used in the production of distilling Gin, Absinthe, and a biodynamic Italian Moscato, all garnished with mint.
On to the next! I love egg nog, but it always left me feeling bloated and sick, so I wanted to create something that people can enjoy without having to take a three hour nap afterwards. I spent some time thinking about what it is on a culinary level that makes Egg Nog so absolutely lovable. What it came down to was that interesting, slightly herbaceous and gentle kick that the egg nog spices tipple onto your palette. In doing my homework, I found that traditional egg nog uses nothing more than cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. So I decided to do come up with my own proprietary Masala Chai blend in order to make it uniquely my own, and what was born was “Not Your Madre’s Nog.” This cocktail embodies the season with its creamy texture from coconut milk, sweet and spicy notes from the chai, and finally exotic smoke from the El Silencio Mezcal.
The third winter cocktail I created this season is called “I’m Sorry Mrs. Jamson” that includes a fruit and vinegar maturation that, interestingly, has always been a part of a winter’s feast. In provincial times, winter was historically a season when people brought out their homemade jams, jellies, and pickled items that they created earlier in the year. “I’m Sorry Mrs. Jamson” uses a canned homemade apricot jam that we made earlier this year, lemon juice, housemade habanero bitters, and a float of a full bodied jammy Spanish red wine. It’s festive and meant to be beautiful, because hey…life is beautiful!
For more updates and cocktail inspiration, connect with Gracias Madre on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. To try one of these festive libations yourself, stop by Gracias Madre in the West Hollywood Design District at 8905 Melrose Ave West Hollywood, Ca 90069.
Photo Courtesy: Jason Eisner, Gracias Madre