Drink and Dish: Film-TV Cocktails, Rosé Margaritas, A Wine History Museum
Get into the spirit of summer with news from our Thirsty Reporter: Featuring drinks with a Hollywood twist and the first Napa Valley wine museum from John Legend’s business partner.
Zac Efron Favorite Malibu Farm Lido Introduces Rosé Margaritas
From Jon Bon Jovi to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, celebrities are no strangers to making and enjoying rosé wine. Malibu Farm Lido in Newport Beach ups the ante for its famous fans — including actor Zac Efron, reality TV personality-turned-designer Lauren Conrad, and pro football quarterbacks Matt Stafford and Matt Barkley — by offering a margarita mixed with a dry rosé from Banshee Wines, Nosotros Reposado tequila, homemade plum ginger agave and fresh lime juice. Dehydrated rose petals and salt clinging to the rim frame the fresh rose petals sitting atop the ice.
"All of our cocktails are flavored from organic agave, fruits, vegetables and herbs inspired by our local farmers markets," said lead bartender Jamie Adair. Considering that the restaurant has also fielded filming requests from The Hills: New Beginnings and The Real Housewives of Orange County, she added, "We wanted to come up with a rosé margarita that was unique and not only tasted great, but looked beautiful as well." Available at the Newport Beach waterfront restaurant only in June and July, the $16 cocktail is bound to be a common sight during the restaurant's popular brunch.
Blinking Owl Distillery’s Paean to Penelope From Criminal Minds
Actress Kirsten Vangsness brings a new flavor to multitasking. Beyond wrapping up the 15th and final season of Jeff Davis's drama series Criminal Minds, she has also been busy tending to Blinking Owl Distillery, which she co-founded in 2016 with a focus on organic California-grown grains. For summer, the Santa Ana, California-based distillery’s tasting room is featuring a new menu that includes a $13 cocktail inspired by Vangsness’ character on the hit CBS crime series. Made with the distillery’s aquavit, Mary Ellen sweet lime and aromatic tonic water, "Penelope" has a sweet and tart bite like its namesake tech analyst.
Also for summer, Blinking Owl is expanding the release of its wheated bourbon beyond its private whiskey club members. The liquor is available only in California at bars and restaurants, such as Seven Grand in downtown Los Angeles. The wheated bourbon serves as the base for another summer cocktail dubbed "Milli Vanilli," a nod to the 1990s R&B duo, shaken with Alessio Bianco vermouth, lemon juice and apricot and vanilla syrup. Garnished with chamomile blossoms and priced at $18, "it’s exactly what one would want to sip on a patio to watch the sun set," said Megan Barton, Blinking Owl’s bar director.
Oscar-Winning Film American Beauty Inspires a Summer Spritz
The Beverly Hills restaurant and bar Double Take (located inside the Kimpton Hotel Palomar) proves its devotion to the movie industry with cocktails inspired by films. Its "Summer Solstice Spritz" evokes the Oscar-winning film American Beauty with Jardesca white aperitif made in Sonoma, Koval rosehip liqueur from Chicago, prosecco and soda water. The edible flowers sprinkled on top of the $16 drink served in a wine glass remind one of the famous scene in which Mena Suvari soaks in a bathtub of red rose petals.
Indeed, "it was the imagery of the roses in the film, and what they represent, that brought inspiration," said Sarah L.M. Mengoni, Double Take’s lead bartender. "It made me think of old rituals — dancing naked in a field worshipping the sun, body full of wine, mind full of desire for the people dancing around and with you." The formula works for Double Take, whose patrons "try to figure out what the movie is for each drink," she said. As for avoiding the risk of drinking on an empty stomach, Mengoni suggested "keeping with the hedonistic spirit" by pairing the spritz "with cheese, chocolate and oysters."
John Legend’s Winemaking Partner Opens Napa Valley’s First Wine History Museum
After decades of producing award-winning wine, Napa Valley hasn’t had a place where connoisseurs can learn about its history — until now. Thanks to Jean-Charles Boisset, the owner of Boisset Collection and a partner in singer John Legend’s Legend Vineyard Exclusives wine label, a museum and tasting room called 1881 Napa has opened in a 145-year-old Victorian home, located next to the beloved Oakville Grocery, off St. Helena Highway in Oakville. Under an elegant chandelier crafted from Baccarat crystal and a reproduction of an 1895 map of Napa County, visitors can take self-guided tours along the building’s second-floor mezzanine to view wine relics from Europe and the U.S. as well as original artifacts from California’s early wine trade. While the wine museum is free and open to the public, the tasting room under the mezzanine specializes in wines from Napa Valley’s sub-appellations.
Developed by The Wine Bible author Karen MacNeil, the tasting options include a flight titled "Embark on a Journey Throughout the Valley," featuring Cabernet Sauvignons from 12 different sites. As Boisset, a son of vintners who grew up in Burgundy, France, put it, "Napa Valley has a powerful place in American wine history, and 1881 Napa puts the region in perspective on the world stage."