Big Bar in Los Angeles is GoT Crazy.

Some people love “Game of Thrones.” And then some people LOVE it. That would be the case at Big Bar in Los Angeles where a single, whimsical creation courtesy of Bartender/Manager Eugene Lee sparked an entire menu of GoT-inspired beverages. As Lee recalls, “What started as a one-off eventually became a serial because it’s been fun to make these and the community seemed to be enjoying it. Either you get the deep cuts in the details or you just take it for a light, refreshing companion to your weekend. We also didn’t want to alienate those who weren’t into ‘Game of Thrones.’ With that in mind, the cocktails are designed for a brunch weekend (as they are the featured brunch cocktail for the weekend.)”

Lee enthusiastically agreed to share the entire recipe collection and even provided play-by-play explanations for the drinks’ geneses. In fact, Lee’s comments are a fascinating glimpse into a bartender’s mind. How did he and his crew come up with those drinks? What ingredients play heavily and why? Lee dishes it out with gusto.

If you are a geek, relish the references. If you just enjoy a great cocktail, you won’t be disappointed either. Warning: Spoiler Alert! If you are planning on marathon-ing the entire series at some future date, just skip to the recipes!

Araya's Needle

Araya’s Needle

Photo Courtesy of EugeneShoots

Arya’s Needle

Courtesy of Eugene Lee, Big Bar at Alcove, Los Angeles

Lee’s Explanation: “So this was the drink to start it all. Season four ended with so much drama… Sansa is the black swan, Brienne and the Hound destroy each other, Tyrion kills Tywin, Jorah ‘Friend Zone’ Mormont is banished by Daenerys… but it was the final image of Arya headed off to Braavos aboard a ship that I think excited everyone with the possibilities of the GoT world getting bigger, expanding to new characters and storylines… leaving the smoldering wreckage that seasons one to four had laid waste to Westeros.

The drink leading up to season five had to be Arya-centered because I think that’s what story line we collectively wanted to see the most! I used the Singani 63 [a Pisco-like spirit from South America] because it has lightness and floral-ness that I think taste exotic to the well known main spirits palate (i.e. whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, vodka.) That, and I wanted to pay homage to Prince Oberyn’s demise by having some green grapes squished in the glass and as garnish. I like the white muscat de Alexandria grape tones from Singani 63 to be the centerpiece with the citrus and pineapple cordial making it refreshing and tropical… to denote the adventures for Arya to come. The grape is pierced through with a Peychaud’s dash on top, almost to [symbolize] the bamboo pick “needle” lancing a foe. In the descriptor, the final ingredient is ‘revenge’ for obvious reasons. Revenge is sweet (tart, balanced, refreshing.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Singani 63
  • 1/2 oz. Bianco vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. Pineapple cordial (like “Pisco Punch” brand)
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon
  • 3 Green grapes, for glass and garnish
  • Dash Peychaud’s bitters
  • Club soda, to top

Preparation: “Smoosh” two green grapes (like they were Prince Oberyn’s head) at the bottom of a collins glass. Shake the first four ingredients in a mixing tin, strain and dump with ice into a collins glass. Top with ice and a dash of soda.Garnish with a pick through a green grape and a dash of Peychaud’s bitters over the grape. (Option: whisper the names of all the people you will vanquish.)


Highgarden

Highgarden

Photo Courtesy of EugeneShoots

Highgarden

Courtesy of Eugene Lee and Aaron Alvarez, Big Bar at Alcove, Los Angeles

Lee’s Explanation: “I had only intended to make the GoT cocktail a one-off, but locals and friends had been responding to it so I thought, why not do another? Bar manager Aaron Alvarez and I played with this one. Aaron isn’t a big GoT fan (only for lack of seeing it) but here at Big Bar, we like to be inspired by other forms of art be it culinary, pop cultural, music etc. The no- brainer was that Alcove/Big Bar boasts a pretty phenomenal garden patio. It’s one of the main draws: to eat and drink in a slice of green solace amidst the bustling LA around us.

I had decided to resurrect a tasty eve’s rose petal/tea simple [syrup] we had used on a previous menu’s drink. I was devoting the next GoT cocktail to House Tyrell, being as we had just seen the first episode of season five and clearly Margaery Tyrell was going to play a big part in the season.

We use the complementary lightness and sexy flavors of the amaro nonino (couldn’t you imagine seeing them sip this all day long in Highgarden?,) gin, and some club soda to give it just the right amount of effervescence. We double down on the whole “rose/garden” imagery with two rose petals to pay tribute to House Tyrell and the ‘Queen of Thorns.’ The resulting cocktail is light, bubbly, accented by floral rose tones and the lovely and lithe interplay of the amaro nonino and gin. As refreshing as Margaery Tyrell’s coy smiles.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Sloane’s Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Amaro Nonino
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Rose-tea simple syrup *
  • Fever-Tree tonic, to top
  • Rose petals, for garnish

Preparation: Shake all ingredients except tonic and rose petals and dump into a collins glass. Use one large ice cube and top with a few pieces of chip ice. Top with Fever-Tree tonic. Garnish with rose petals.

*Rose-Tea Simple Syrup: Standard 1/1 superfine baker’s sugar to water. Add three bags of Eve’s rose tea in a 750ml container of simple syrup. Seep for 20 minutes.


Cup of Braavos

Cup of Braavos

Photo Courtesy of EugeneShoots

Cup of Braavos

Courtesy of Eugene Lee, with garnish by Matt Nichitta, Big Bar at Alcove, Los Angeles

Lee’s Explanation: “The Titan of Braavos loomed large in my head, so as a photographer, I kind of already knew I wanted to somehow incorporate our own ‘titan’ at Alcove: this wonderful [metal] statue of a lady we have on our South Patio that I affectionately call Alcove’s Lady of the Garden. For the drink, I wanted to use some exotic spirits as well in homage of Braavos.

I thought it kind of resembled the high commerce days of Portugal with maybe a bit of Spanish influence, hence the use of the Torres 10-year Spanish brandy and the Portuguese Ginjinha, a sour cherry vermouth/amaro and national good time drink of Portugal. I like the citrus and ginger [in the drink] interplaying with the nutty and chocolate-y tones from the brandy/ginja mix. The result is a cup of adventure fit for an avenging Stark. Bonus points: as a garnish, one of our bartender super fans Matt Nichitta suggested instead of the orange peel I was adding, that it be an orange coin with ‘a scar’ just like the coin Arya received from Jaqen. Valar Morghulis.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Ginjinha
  • 1 oz. Torres Spanish brandy
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Ginger syrup
  • Club soda, to top
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish
  • Orange “coin” with “scar” cut into it, for garnish

Preparation: Shake all ingredients and strain into a wine glass. Fill with chip ice and top with club soda. Garnish with mint sprigs and orange coin with scar.


Sunspear

Sunspear

Photo Courtesy of EugeneShoots

Sunspear of Dorn

Courtesy of Florence Haritgan, Big Bar at Alcove, Los Angeles

Lee’s Explanation: “The other exotic locale we are visiting this season is Dorne! Bartender Florence Hartigan and I were nerding out on one of our shifts together and she had said she was playing on a cocktail riff to her ‘Red Wedding’ she made a few months back. The result was this cocktail. Beer cocktails always go over well for brunch. I love that in LA with all the sunshine and alfresco love, there is real affection for the beer cocktails. Big Bar has had a few beauties, and after tasting Flo’s cocktail, I thought this was up there. Visually, I like that the cocktail retains the color scheme of the house sigil (orange, yellow, red) with the main symbolism being the Sun. We hope that the lemon wheel — “speared” in the center by the straw with angostura creating the hues of a sunset — will transport the imbiber to the water gardens of Dorne.”

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 oz. Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Amaro montenegro
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon
  • 1/2 oz. Orgeat
  • Beer, to top
  • Angostura float
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish

Preparation: Stir in Collins glass with ice. Top with beer. Float Angostura bitters on top. Spear lemon wheel with straw.


Mhysa

Mhysa

Photo Courtesy of EugeneShoots

Mhysa

Courtesy of Eugene Lee and Aaron Alvarez, Big Bar at Alcove, Los Angeles

Lee’s Explanation: Oh how I wanted to use a dragon fruit shrub and call this ‘Mother of Dragons’ for Mother’s Day weekend! But nope, couldn’t find any at my local Asian grocers. Alas, MoD will have to wait. Being that is was Mother’s Day weekend, we knew we wanted to have Champagne in the cocktail (after all, momma deserves some bubbles!) Now, Dani is in Meeren and Essos…. we can interpret it as North Africa (Morocco is my guess) or Istanbul, maybe even some of Egypt. All that said, we opted for the ‘feel’ of her and her locality rather than inserting Moroccan spices. We wanted something nice for the Mother of Dragons to sip on as she played Judge Judy in the pyramid. Mount Gay Black Barrel, Giffard Pamplemousse Rosé, lime, and bubbles is where we landed. Utterly enjoyable and crushable for a Khaleesi and hard working mom alike. Topped with a rolled lime crown for the queen of our hearts.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel
  • 1/2 oz. Giffard Pamplemousse Rosé
  • 1/2 oz. Lime juice
  • 2 oz. Champagne or other sparkling wine, to top
  • Lime peel, rolled

Preparation: Shake and strain first three ingredients into a wine glass. Fill with chipped ice. Top with sparkling wine to fill. Garnish with lime peel rolled and speared with bamboo skewer.