Bridget: Light Bistro is a wine bar. I mean, it's a restaurant and everything too, but it's primarily about the wine, right down to their brand new retail wine shop. So of course I've never had a cocktail there. It actually took me a good minute or two to even find the cocktail list, which is on the first page, because I was blinded by habit, immediately drawn through the bottle listings.
Once you do find it, it's a respectable list of respectable drinks, but nothing that immediately draws you in. There were the sidecars and blue cheese martinis and basil infused fruit things that most of the good bars have now. It's a good list. But I wanted something really spectacularly interesting, that one drink that you read about and just have to have. I actually looked first at the French 75, which I feel like is popping up everywhere now. And I knew you would get that. I always want there to be Champagne in that drink and there never is. I mean, probably cause it's not supposed to be.
Sarah: I'm on a quest to try all of the French 75s in town. There's one particular gold standard to which I compare all others, so I am obligated to order it when I see it. It's a research-based mission. Typically made with gin, Champagne, lemon juice and sugar, the French 75 was said to be invented in Paris at Harry's New York Bar around 1915. The drink is supposed to pack a punch, and in fact is named after the French 75mm howitzer artillery piece. Instead of bullets, though, it shoots you with gin. After enough of them, you bleed dignity.
Bridget: So there was supposed to be Champagne. I'm glad I'm not totally clueless.
Sarah: At Light, the French 75 is made with Hendrick's gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and that Sofia sparkling wine that you can buy in cans. (I find that troubling for reasons related to cinema, but that's a story for another day.) The French 75 is a great summer cocktail, because of the lemon and the bubbles, and the Light version is quite sweet. It's like lace – girly and old-timey, two things I like in a drink. The Hendrick's gives it that fresh cucumber lilt.
Bridget: I ended up picking something by name - the Moscow mule: ginger-infused vodka, lime juice, ginger ale. Sounds light and sunny right? But then the name is all pre-revolutionary snow-bound Russia, with frozen barons floating down the Volga and scandalous women throwing themselves in front of trains. I know, I'm mixing up my historical periods a little, but it's vodka! Moscow! Mules! Now, according to my secret online sources, the Moscow mule was invented in Los Angeles, on Sunset Blvd of all places, which is like the least Moscow-y place I can think of. It's supposed to be vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. I suspect what Light has tried to do is lighten it up, with the use of ginger-infused vodka instead of full-blown ginger beer. I see where they were going with it, but I had to check to make sure I had actually gotten what I ordered. It was more like a lime mojito than anything else. Not that it was bad, it was refreshing, but the limes overwhelmed everything in the glass. Not only was there lime juice, but also two halved limes jockeying for territory with the ice. I could barely taste the ginger. They were super limes bred in the Argentinian jungle laboratory of an extremely bitter White Russian. Attack of the Twenty Foot Limes, bent on glass wide drink domination. I may be exaggerating a little. I really like ginger beer.
Sarah: You mentioned that we had a citrus massacre of sorts - a couple of limes gave their lives for your Moscow mule, and my French 75 dispatched a few lemons.
Bridget: I think I scared the limes off actually, because our next drink, The Summer Sunset, was advertised to have a lime garnish, but came with an orange garnish. Totally okay by me, as limes and I are on the outs for a bit now. The drink was pretty, right? And tequila is good for what ails you, especially if what ails you is a lack of shame. You know I only started drinking tequila a few years ago, when I learned to order shots that were half lime juice, half tequila? Oh limes, we had it so good for a while.
Sarah: I suggested another gin drink, I think. You vetoed that. But the drink was pretty, and it seemed like a good idea to get something really summery. It was orange-y.
Bridget: Muddled orange guts floating in a sea of pomegranate juice, sugar and tequila. It was sort how I would imagine an orange would be cremated and floated down a holy river. It was exactly like eating an orange, only more orangey than an actual fruit. It came to me, while you were picking apart your garnish and nibbling on the segments, that this drink is exactly like eating really cold sliced oranges your mother packed for school lunch. The slicing, and the way the segments come apart contribute to make the fruit taste different, enhancing the sugariness,and apparently pomegranate juice does the same thing. Who knew?
Sarah: I do like when you get the orange wheel garnish, it's very refreshing, plus a free snack. I bet there's not an orange wheel garnish with that Sex on the Beach drink on the happy hour menu. That had to have been ironic. Right?