“Why is this night different from all other nights?” That’s a key line at Seders the world over, and while plenty of people were celebrating Passover with family and friends in Los Angeles, I was at Paiche for the first of two FOOD & WINE Best New Chef Dinners, co-starring Ricardo Zarate and Portland’s Naomi Pomeroy. The bartending crew was nearly as prestigious, with Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix working alongside Paiche bar manager Deysi Alvarez and Pour Vous bartender Devon Espinosa. Moix ensured the night would be different by breaking out some special bottles for their cocktails, including a case of Seagram’s V.O. Whisky, which they featured in Old Fashioneds. The nearly 50-year-old whisky elevated the alchemy of muddled sugar, bitters, and complementary citrus peel. The vanilla notes were pronounced, and the cocktail was seriously smooth. A cocktail like that incorporates a 49-year-old spirit isn’t quite as rare as Haley’s Comet, but the effect was still cosmic.
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