The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2014

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142  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2014 O n a nondescript stretch of Culver City, CA's Washington Boulevard, Beau du Bois makes you feel like you're at home. With a steady crowd of regulars bellying up to his bar, du Bois greets each of his guests like a friend, and even when he's slammed behind the stick, he'll take his time to explain to guests what they're drinking and why. "I think that's one of the most important parts of my job," he says sincerely. "Making approachable cocktails that tell a story and give people something new —or old!—to try, and if I've done my job correctly, hopefully they'll like it too," he laughs. It's this friendly, laid back charm allowed du Bois to establish himself as one of L.A.'s favorite bartenders and helped make The Corner Door a veritable neighborhood bar. "It can be a little bit like Cheers in here," he says with a chuckle, "but with really good, fresh cocktails. With a wide array of craft spirits on his backbar, du Bois complements the basics with housemade vermouth, amaros, tinctures, shrubs and bitters. Also passionate about seasonality, du Bois looks to bring out the best of the season in unexpected ways, turning to Buddha's hand for citrus or spices and alterna- tive sweetening agents in fall and winter. "No matter what, it's important to keep things interesting yet accessible," says du Bois. "I'm not trying to force anyone outside of their comfort zone: If they want a beer, hey—have a beer. We've got some great ones," he says with a smile. —Rachel Burkons THE "5" LIST 3 4 5 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 Beau du Bois BARKEEPER AT THE CORNER DOOR, CULVER CITY, CA Taking Inventory with. . . PHOTO: RACHEL BURKONS Beau du Bois. Beau du Bois' Top Five Faves Atmosphere, atmosphere, ATMOSPHERE! When a restaurant or a bar has given their atmosphere the atten- tion it deserves, it really creates an incredible experience that enhances the food and drinks. Tasting different bars' housemade sodas, liqueurs, cordials, draft cocktails, etc. Those recipes bring identity and can only be found at that location. Patrons or regulars who are sensitive to the busy- ness of the bar. These guests know when it's the right time to ask for cocktail recommendations or mull over what to order, as opposed to having a quick go-to cocktail in case the bartender is swamped. When I go to place and the entire staff is "drinking the Kool-Aid," because it tastes good. Meaning, when I see a staff so passionate about the food and drink menu that they take ownership over the guest's entire experience. Places where the cocktail menu's creator is actually making drinks behind the bar. You read about these people all the time; it's a real pleasure to watch them work and slide one of their creations in front of you. Beau du Bois Top Five Pet Peeves Loud, abrasive conversations from guests. Everyone should have a good time, but try not to disturb the experience of guests outside your party. Customers who fret about menu changes. To maintain relevancy/seasonality, menus have to change and be updated to make room for new, exciting drinks/dishes. Have faith that we're working very hard to create new favorites for all our guests. Garnishes just sitting in jars on the bar top at room temperature. Keeping perishable garnishes over ice is a must. Please, no rotting fruit in my cocktail, thanks! Lack of hospitality from cocktail professionals. Recently, I was meeting a friend at one of my favorite cocktail bars and he watched as the bartenders greeted me warmly. He quietly leaned over and said, "I'm glad you're here; these guys have been nothing but rude to me since I got here." We had a drink and left, never to return. Bartenders who attempt to make the drink I just ordered while having a conversation with another guest. Just excuse yourself from the conversation for a minute to make the drink quickly and accurately. Guests know you have a job to do.

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