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punch line The Venue Pepare to be wowed when you enter RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen, the startling beautiful restaurant from the group that created The Cheesecake Factory. For now, it’s a one-off, strate- gically located in West Los Angeles and catering to an enter- tainment industry Who’s Who. But there’s little doubt that the concept will be expanded to other urban markets in the not-too- distant future, according to Heather Berry, the group’s Director of Beverage and Bakery. Where? “Russell [Green, the group’s CEO] is being very tight-lipped about that,” Berry laughs. At RockSugar, Chef Mohan Ismail spotlights the cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Indian and his native Singapore, while the front of the house is ably directed by GM Erik Russell. Lead Bartender Bruce Hood, who honed his craft at Raffles L’Ermitage and Michael Mina’s XIV in L.A. before coming on board at RockSugar, devises the cocktails, with input from co-lead bartender Nate Wright and the Cheesecake Factory’s corporate management. All of the restaurant’s specialty drinks have a Far Eastern theme and Asian flavors, says Hood. “People love tasting that exotic fruit at first, and then the good alcohol on the finish.” Hood specifics Karma Silver as the only tequila for his Mandarin Tiger: “It’s a super tequila that people should know more about.” The Joke Buddha overlooks RockSugar’s Mandarin Tiger, made with Karma tequila. A man walks into a bar and sits next to a man with a dog at his feet. “Does your dog bite?” “No.” A few minutes later the dog takes a huge chunk out of his leg. “I thought you said your dog didn’t bite!” The man says indignantly, “That’s not my dog.” Bruce Hood mixes a Mandarin Tiger at the RockSugar bar. Born in the highlands of Jalisco, Karma te- quila keeps good things coming with its blend of double- and triple- distilled spirit and the use of 100% natural well water, as well as only the finest agave with 24 percent or higher sugar content. Buddha would approve. The Punch: The Mandarin Tiger 1½ oz. Karma Silver Tequila ½ oz. saké ½ oz. mandarin juice ¾ oz. ginger syrup ½ oz. orange juice ½ oz. lemon juice 9 oz. ice Build in a mixing glass. Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with an orange peel. november 2010 / the tasting panel / 81

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