Just mere hours before our flight to beautiful Puerto Rico, R and I squeezed in enough time to attend the infamous Pharmacie Cocktail Party. Suitcases in the trunk, comfy clothes for the plane, now all we needed was a few delectable cocktails to wash down our flying anxieties. The Pharmacie had just the cure. Three gin inspired concoctions, good music, wonderful hosts- I was ready for my vacation!
The Pharmacie is run by two men with a passion for the art and precision of cocktail construction. There has only been one party to date, but it received a lot of attention (you may have read the generous write-up it received by Betty Hallock in the LA Times). This was their second cocktail event and I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation.
The Pharmacie lived up to my expectations and more. Tucked down a small Echo Park side street in a non-descript building, the location was perfect - a modern day speak easy of sorts. We were not sure if we should enter, it was so unassuming. The room was spacious and grand, minimally decorated with brick walls, low couches, beams jutting out of the high ceilings and one fully stocked bar.
We were greeted by an aperitif of Vermouth Blanc. I am not generally the biggest fan of gin. When at a bar or making a cocktail at home I generally refer to whiskey or rum, but for the Pharmacie I was willing to follow their prescription.
The first cocktail was the Original Aviation Cocktail made with Bluecoat Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and Crème de Violette. After a few mouth-tingly tastes, our host graciously explained to us the origins and components of the cocktail we all had the pleasure of enjoying. The Aviation is not commonly made with Crème de Violette, but the original recipe calls for it and I find it to be a necessary addition. It gave the cocktail a subtle soft floral note, almost creamy. It was a glassful of blue bliss.
The next cocktail was "The Capitalist." This was the Pharmacie’s spin on the classic gin cocktail the Communist, but with a well-thought-out twist. "The Capitalist" is created by combining Junipero Gin, fresh lime juice, thyme, and house-made cherry shrub. Cherry shrub? A cherry shrub is created by boiling cherries, sugar and vinegar, with lots of complex steps that create this amazing taste. Thyme is thrown in to give the cocktail an added depth. These guys have a true passion and knowledge of their craft.This was my favorite of the night. And needless to say after an aperitif and the first amuse bouclé I was well on my way to "relaxed."
The last cocktail on the list was "The Bees Pyjamas," the Pharmacie’s version of the classic cocktail “The Bees Knees”. The Bees Pyjamas a mix of Old Tom Gin, house-made mint syrup, Yellow Chartreuse, fresh lemon juice, and bitters. After my first sip I immediately thought “is there booze in this thing?” It was the sweetest mix of honey and mint, reminiscent of the best remedy to a sore throat. It was the perfect end to a night of unbelievable cocktails. It was understated and dazzling. I was ready for my flight, but more ready for the next of hopefully many Pharmacie parties.