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Otium - The "Spirits Guy" Perspective

222 S. Hope Street, Los Angeles ($$$)

So I'm going to be completely frank here. Just by looking at the amount of cocktails you see below I'll let you all guess as to the level of detail I remember of each and every drink. I'll give you a hint... not a whole hell of a lot. Christian's review of the wines we had will help to explain why. However, this doesn't  mean I can't give you my honest assessment of my overall experience. That the alcohol can't numb. 

As my esteemed colleagues have and will be discussing, Otium has a lot going for it and some might not be for everyone. But in terms of drinks, I liked their take on the classics and some of their own unique drinks. And like all good bars the menu lists out exactly what's in the drinks. Did I order the Margarita because of the Elderflower? No. But the Birdseye Chili peaked my curiosity. The green tea in the Piña Colada made what would have been a boring choice more appetizing. And the big ice cube used in some of the drinks was a nice touch. 

Say what you will of the small count of the drinks on the menu, they're gussied up enough to hold there own. Plus having the bartender's choice is a great option. I'd certainly go back and meet friends for drinks and you should too. 

Carry On Cocktail Kit - Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Time to review the second of two Carry On Cocktail Kits I recently bought from the clever bunch at W&P Design. If you haven't already read up on my first review, jump on over and read up on their Gin and Tonic kit.

This time the classic Bloody Mary is made into a convenient little kit that will make almost any flight more bearable. It might even help drown out the crying kid 5 rows back (but I make no guarantees). Anyway, this kit is very similar to the Gin and Tonic kit, it comes in a handy hinged tin and includes most of what you'll need to make 2 nice strong cocktails. There are however a few items your friendly flight attendant will need to provide.

mini bottle (50 mL) of your favorite vodka
can of tomato juice
lemon wedge
cup of ice
1 empty cup or 2 if you're sharing

Now, the instructions walk you through the steps of rimming the glass with the provided "Slap Ya Mama" cajun seasoning, but in practice.... well lets just say it takes a bit of practice. So don't rush this step. I think I did a pretty good job myself but admittingly I wasn't also trying to keep this stable on a food tray hanging off the seat in front of me. 

After rimming the glass, it's pretty much about mixing the rest of the ingredients. As with all the kits, the provided mixing spoon comes in really handy. The instructions don't say how to use the provided pickle so I just tossed it and it's juice in for flavor. But when all it's said and done, this Bloody Mary rocks!! I'm not normally a Bloody Mary fan but I'd definitely get this kit again. It's spicy, strong, and the ingredients are proportioned just right. Well done W&P.... well done.

Margaritas, pitcher format

...let's call this pitcher 16 servings...and pretend we're that sort of person.

First step - have your ingredients organized. Mise en place is important, even in cocktail creations:

  • 3 cups tequila, silver or reposed (I used silver, mostly because I was trying to use up the bottle, I don't play favorites)
  • 2 cups orange liqueur (Cointreau, or any citrus flavored liqueur will do...I've been known to use a ginger liqueur at times)
  • 1.5 cups freshly-squeezed lime juice (this takes some serious limes!  The past few years of the CA drought have caused some not so juicy limes.   I juiced about 8-10 limes for this pitcher)
  • Ice (for the pitcher; for the glasses too, if you like)
  • Optional - simple syrup (if you like your margarita sweeter, keep in mind there are no sweet ingredients other than simple syrup and depending on how tart your limes are, this could be an instant-pucker drink)
  • Optional - lime wedges for garnish 


  • Juice your limes!   This is the time consuming part of this recipe and can be messy (just look at those pictures below)
  • Fill your pitcher with ice.  In my case I wanted to just add a little ice (I like my drinks to not be too watered down) so added enough ice to come up around 2 inches up from the bottom of my pitcher, or a single layer. 
  • Add all drink ingredients to the pitcher and stir.  If you are using simple syrup, I suggest adding all the other ingredients to the pitcher first, stir, taste and adjust as needed.   
  • An alternate way to serve these would be to not add ice to the pitcher and instead stir all ingredients together, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add 4 oz of liquid and shake vigorously until cold (15 shakes should do it).     This does allow for a personal amount of simple syrup...but can cause more angst within a group that has to wait for their drinks to be made individually.  
  • If you like a salted rim on your glass, use a lime wedge to run around the rim of your glass, then dip the rim in a large crystal salt (if you don't have tequila salt, a large crystal kosher or sea salt will do).  
  • Pour drinks into glass, and enjoy!
  • Monitor intake to try to accomplish 16 servings per pitcher.