BY: Cuyler Gibbons
When you want to know about love—particularly the how so’s and why me’s of it—there is really only one go-to guy you want to rely on. Only one person with the experience to both understand your particular problem and the time and willingness to help you dissect it, at least without preapproval from your insurance company. That person is, of course, your local bartender. Fly by night “mixologists” need not apply. Matters of the heart require old school expertise, not some trend jockey, juggling shakers and shot glasses. Serving wisdom and solace every night, along with a proper cocktail, demands real life experience.
That’s why when we at Pasadena Magazine decided to commission the creation of a cocktail to honor Valentine’s Day and the spirit of love, we went to see Mark Brown
of Parkway Grill, the flagship of Pasadena’s Smith Bros. Restaurant Group, and the perfect place to celebrate any romantic occasion. Brown has been tending bar for nearly 40 years, starting in Chicago and spent the last 26 in Pasadena. He not only creates his own secret infusions and maintains his own personal barrels of double aged whiskey, he brings an encyclopedic knowledge and deft hand to his craft. Well versed in the classic cocktail canon, along with an abundant array of new twists on old favorites, Brown’s concoctions are elevated to high art with the best spirits and flawless technique.
For this project we offered very little direction to allow Brown’s cocktail creativity to flow freely. “It’s the beauty, love and money issue,” we said. “Make us a cocktail. Please.” Then, we went away and came back a week later for the grand reveal. Upon our arrival, Brown walked us through the creation of the lovely libation while explaining that he wanted to create a drink that was something simple yet elegant, beautiful and, of course, delicious. We think the Evening Jewel is most definitely all of the above.
THE EVENING JEWEL
What is true love if not the melding of two complimentary yet disparate elements into a beautiful whole that is much more than the sum of its parts? If so, then the Evening Jewel is a cocktail that truly promises love.
To begin, premium vodka shimmers diamond-like atop Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco Liqueur, a hefty, glowing ruby, sunk to the bottom of a glass rimmed in aphrodisiacal dark chocolate cookie crumbs. Give the swizzle stick with two dark maraschino cherries a few gentle twirls blending the jewel-like liquors and initiating the romance. Take a bite of cherry, then a sip, being sure to capture a taste of chocolate—the catalyst that turns romance into love.
1 oz Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco Liqueur
2 oz Grey Goose Premium Vodka
2 Luxardo “Original” Maraschino cherries
1 tablespoon finely crumbled oreo cookie crumbs (crème filling removed)
Chill a stemmed 5 oz martini glass. Rub the glass rim with cherry liqueur, then twirl in the cookie crumbs to coat the rim. Add 1 oz Luxardo Sangue Morlacco Liquor to the bottom of the glass. Using a bar spoon, float 2 oz premium vodka on top of the Maraschino Liquor. Garnish with two maraschino cherries on a swizzle-stick. SERVE.