I wasn’t going to order a cocktail at Spago while experiencing the Bar Food menu at Wolfgang Puck’s revamped restaurant. The cocktail menu is sprawling, with no categorization, making it difficult to navigate. Good thing I was sitting at the bar, since my vantage point allowed me to see some items that normally appear alongside spirits: pots holding already-brewed tea. I asked bartender Andrew Kim about them, and he said Spago now offers three tea cocktails, which Puck culinary lieutenant Lee Hefter developed. I was intrigued by The Garden of Eden and Crouching Tiger, which the Managing Partner and Executive Corporate Chef of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group also created, but ultimately opted for the Duke of Earl.
The cocktail features Earl Grey infused Tanqueray 10 gin, lemon juice and egg white, shaken until frothy and served in a deluxe Juliska crystal glass that looks like it should hold tricked out martinis. Then again, that would be tired, just like the repetitive 1962 song from Gene Chandler, “Duke of Earl,” and Spago didn’t sink so much money into a renovation to stay in the past. Prehaps they should call this balanced cocktail Progress instead.