Named one of Food & Wine’s most influential bartenders in 2014, Julian Cox has certainly made his mark on Los Angeles. As Restaurant Editor Kate Krader wrote, Cox “made L.A.—a city known for Red Bull and vodka—care about craft cocktails.” At Rivera, he mixed up smoky mezcal drinks, at Picca he created the perfect avocado daiquiri, at Playa he made sherry cool and at Sotto, Cox managed to somehow use tequila in an Italian aperitif. Now, Cox is proving his mettle in Chicago.
The Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant group recently announced that Cox would be the LEYE Beverage Director and oversee the bar program at one of the country’s top tiki bars, Three Dots and a Dash. Cox’s new cocktail menu will debut at Three Dots in May, and the bar will mark the moment with a Tiki Luau on May 1 (tickets and details available soon on threedotschicago.com). Though Cox is keeping mum on menu specifics, he did have this to say: “I am looking to sustain the rich history of Three Dots and a Dash while focusing on new culinary techniques and spirits and also keeping an emphasis on fresh seasonal ingredients.”
Cox also gave us a recipe for one of his fantastic, tried-and-true tiki drinks, the Polynesian Pearl Diver. Learn how to make the Scotch-based tropical cocktail below.
Polynesian Pearl Diver
Makes one drink
1 ounce Sheep Dip Scotch
1 ounce Black Grouse Scotch
1/2 ounce lime
3/4 ounce tangerine juice
Scant ounce spiced butter syrup (see below)
Dash Angostura bitters
Dash Bittermans tiki bitters
Cinnamon (for garnish)
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail tin and dry shake to emulsify. Add ice to tin and shake. Strain over crushed ice. Garnish ornately and serve in a tiki mug. Garnish with grated cinnamon for aromatics.
Adapted from Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold
200 grams water
10 allspice berries, crushed
3 grams TIC Gums Pretested Ticaloid 210S
150 grams melted butter
200 grams granulated sugar
Heat the water and infuse the allspice berries for 5 minutes at a simmer, then strain out the allspice. Hydrate the Ticaloid 210S in the allspice-infused water with a hand blender. Add the melted butter and blend until smooth. Add the sugar and blend until smooth. This syrup can be stored at the bar until needed. It will separate over time but can be stirred back together by hand.