Last night I was lucky enough to take part in a tasting of the new fall and winter cocktail menu at Riviera 31, located in the beautiful Hotel Sofitel in Beverly Hills. Inspired by lifestyle icons of the 50’s and 60’s, the cocktails highlighted the talents of resident mixologist (and awesomely named) Ferrari Watts. The drinks came with names like Coco C, Bardot, Deneuve, Grace and Piaf, and covered a wide range of ingredients. The Piaf featured fig-infused rye whiskey (and packed the biggest alcohol punch), while the Deneuve was tequila-based and featured cucumber slices and hibiscus syrup. The Coco C was a sweet, dessert-like concoction made of sake, creme de cacao, coconut water, coconut puree, simple syrup, and garnished with a piece of white chocolate. It’s a perfect drink for lounging poolside or on a boat, and or as I commented to my colleagues, “The perfect drink for someone who doesn’t like drinking.”
The Bardot, a pisco-red wine-lemon juice-pear concoction was a winning combo, but my favorite might have been the Grace: vodka with quince paste, lemon, hibiscus syrup, grapefruit juice and soda. I’m still not sure what quince paste is, but if it makes drinks taste this good, I’m all for it.
Whatever your particular drink preference, there’s something on the Lounge 31 cocktail menu for you, and if it’s not on the list, tell the talented Mr. Watts what you’re looking for – he’ll serve you right. As for the food, we tasted a collection of well-prepared tapas off the lounge menu: brussel sprouts, cauliflower, flatbread pizza, and my favorite, a super-rich, three cheese mac-and-cheese that if the portion were any bigger, would have inspired a serious food coma. Best to save that extra room for more drinks- after all, isn’t that why we’re in a cocktail lounge in the first place?
Riviera 31 is located on the first floor of the Hotel Sofitel, 8555 Beverly Boulevard, LA., across from the Beverly Center.
Mike Siegel is an LA-based comedian, TV host, travel writer, and creator/host of the Travel Tales Podcast, which can be heard on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and on the website http://www.traveltalespodcast.com.