For all of you visiting Los Angeles, make sure Baltaire is on the list of restaurants to try. Seated in the heart of Brentwood, this west side beauty is the home of continental cuisine grilled, seared and sauteed with California farm to market fresh foods and the best steaks around.
Their bar is legendary and we were fortunate to cross paths and interview the beverage manager Marianna Caldwell, who loves setting a dramatic stage for her mixologists to wield the most bitchin’ craft cocktails in the city of Angels. She even shared a celebrity insider recipe with us in honor of their one-year anniversary!
Baltaire’s one year anniversary and the fun creation Marianna developed inspired after the restaurant’s first patron, Dustin Hoffman. It’s a pretty simple recipe and easy to recreate in your own bar at home.
Hoffman (who’s now a loyal regular) and his iconic character Dorothy Michaels from the 1982 film Tootsie has inspired the “Dorothy Michaels” cocktail. Beverage Manager Marianna Caldwell created the drink, which is prepared with freshly squeezed juices and premium spirits. We would like to think that Hoffman raised his glass and toasted his late costar from Tootsie, noted British actor George Gaynes, who died February 15, 2016. Gaynes was the ardent pursuer John Van Horn of Tootsie/Dorothy, until the truth was revealed!
Dorothy Michaels Recipe
- 1 oz Tanqueray 10 (side note: Dustin enjoys gin!)
- 1/2 oz Aperol
- 1/4 oz St. Germain
- 1/4 oz Lime Juice
- Splash of Grapefruit Juice
- Float of Champagne
Instructions: Shake and strain into a rocks glass with one large cube. Top with Champagne and a lime twist.
Monsters and Critics spoke to Marianna about this brilliant spot in Brentwood and what trends she is seeing in cocktails we need to know about!
Monsters and Critics: What are some of your favorite spirits you work with when you get inspired to create a cocktail?
Marianna Caldwell: I come from Scottish heritage, so of course, I love to build cocktails on Scotch Whiskey. I particularly like playing off the smokiness of peaty Islay Scotches. Another smoky spirit I have begun to experiment with lately is mezcal. “The Meyrick” (which was added for our 1920’s themed New Year’s party and was just so darn good, I kept it on for the spring) is essentially an Aviation cocktail with mezcal.
The juxtaposition of mezcal’s smokiness next to the bittersweet taste of creme de violette is, in my opinion, brilliant. And for those who are afraid of mezcal (or think they might not like it), the acidity of the lemon and sweetness of maraschino perfectly balances the smoky flavor.
Another spirit that I love to use when making cocktails is gin. It is the most versatile spirit in terms of flavor. Personally, I opt for more citrus based gins, especially when the spirit is prominently featured in the cocktail. However, a more Juniper flavored gin is great when balanced with citrus, as in the Dorothy Michaels.
M&C: What are some exciting trends you see as a mixologist this year?
MC: It isn’t a new trend, but I’m seeing a renaissance in the use of beer and wine in cocktails on lists lately. Our “Santa Monica Sunset” cocktail uses an Allagash White float and I’ve been playing around with some ideas that mix spirits and wine for our summer cocktail list. As a sommelier, my heart belongs to wine and the combination of wine and spirits is particularly exciting to me when I think of creating a cocktail.
M&C: Tell me about Baltaire, is there a history and how did it come to be?
MC: Baltaire opened a little over a year ago from the owners of our neighbor restaurant Coral Tree Café. They really understood what the Brentwood community needed and began a labor of love, transforming an old Cheesecake Factory space into a sophisticated, yet approachable restaurant that locals and visitors could enjoy for any occasion.
Since opening, we quickly have become a local hot spot. We now have consistent regulars and are typically packed to the max.
I’ve been with the team since day one, starting as a sommelier, and now serve as the Beverage Manager. I am continuously inspired by the aesthetic of Baltaire and the meaning behind our name, which originates from a Gaelic word for an old medieval warrior.
That Scottish theme really resonates with me, and as I said before, being Scottish myself, I tend to focus more on our whisky offerings than any other spirit because I think it lends itself so well to Baltaire’s style.