Tucked up a side street in Glendale, away from the corporate behemoths of downtown Glendale – CPK, Olive Garden, Islands – there is an intimate oasis known as Neat. This is a bar for cocktail-philes made by a bar man himself. The owner stocks the bar with libations that he would like to drink: single malt scotch, bourbons, japanese whiskies, piscos, gins & amaros (and not a single flavored vodka in sight). The idea is: they want you to experience the liquor “neat,” side by side with your favorite cocktail — hence the name.
I have been geeking out on classic cocktails, ever since my brother introduced me to Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails (above). I love that I can drink a piece of history and read the story of its inception. There are bartenders that claim that cocktails are an American Invention – our contribution to the imbibed landscape. The liquor itself may have been distilled, created and forged in far off lands, but the act of mixing said liquor with bitters and sour is an American Invention. I don’t know the veracity of that claim, but the resurgence of classic cocktails is a fine indication that Americans do enjoy a good stiff drink & I am proud to count myself among them.
This beauty is called The Blinker. It is a mixture of gin, raspberry syrup & grapefruit juice. It is delicious. I mixed it myself from a classic recipe in Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. That picture above was from my home bar one night when I was flipping through the book looking for a fix.
However, you don’t have to break out the jiggers, shakers and strainers to experience cocktail nirvana. If you would like to taste a piece of history, try one of these great bar establishments: Neat, The Spare Room, The Library Bar, The Varnish @ Coles. I’m sure one of them is in your neighborhood.
1114 North Pacific Avenue
Glendale, California 91201
Open Daily: 5p-2a