Jake Larowe slings drinks at Birds & Bees, a hot underground L.A. club that specializes in a speakeasy décor.
Jake gave up some secrets to working in an underground bar and tips on creating memorable cocktails.
“The term underground bar in our case, is very literal,” explains Jake. “We are in a basement under a parking lot, but I wouldn’t really use that term to describe the style of our bar. Our bar’s philosophy is very focused on craft cocktails and fresh, quality ingredients.”
Jake actually got involved with Birds & Bees through Ryan Koller, the bar’s general manager, who asked him to come in and teach his staff how to cut their own ice for big rocks. “I seemed to fit in with the staff and they had an opening for a few shifts a week, so he asked me to help cover. I said yes, and the rest is history.”
Jake’s 3 Ways to Create Cocktails
Look for inspiration everywhere: my creative process varies, to be honest. Most times, it consists of me wandering around farmers markets, grocery stores, spice markets, bakeries, and food festivals looking for inspiration. I try to find things that are either in season or look fresh; sometimes I just find things I’m not familiar with and take them home to mess around with them.
Think about your outcome first: I’ll have a specific kind of cocktail in mind and start with the final flavor or style. Usually, I am thinking of the outcome in order for the cocktail to fit a specific spot on a menu. Does our menu need a gin drink, or does it need something stirred and sweet? Maybe some kind of tiki drink?
Name your drink first: Sometimes I’ll just be struck with a really good name for a drink. I’ll be reading or listening to the radio or see a striking piece of wall art. This is my favorite because I am not good at naming my drinks, so having this piece out of the way and then just getting to make a cocktail that fits the name is a lot of fun.