The Warwick is the rare high-volume Hollywood club where they actually take drinks seriously. Jason Bran and Damian Windsor launched the bar program about a year ago, and both the space and menu recently underwent a revamp. The space is now more Old Hollywood. Gone are the giant female nude photos. Instead, you’ll find over-sized movie posters in the main hall. An upstairs bar, overlooking the action, is blanketed with red and resembles Old Shanghai (but maybe not in a good way). Regardless, the new, tightly focused drink menu was on-point during the October 2 fall cocktail launch.
Bran said he was tasked with creating a “black” cocktail in honor of the Black Dahlia, a classic Hollywood beauty who was killed in horrific fashion, a murder that continues to haunt crime writers like James Ellroy. The drink ($15) isn’t colored black, which would be unappetizing. Instead, Bran creatively riffed on the word, starting with Blackwell, an over-proofed dark rum that he called “very funky Jamaican stuff,” complete with an anise tinge. Simmered black sesame seeds join Fee Bros. orgeat, a nutty almond syrup, amplifying the toasty nuttiness. Blackberry takes the form of a sugar-sweetened puree, which Bran makes in-house and fine strains. Pineapple and lemon juices join the fray, adding sweet acidity. Finally, the garnish is a single plump blackberry, which they pin with a decorative micro star flower. Yes, that’s a W-shaped cocktail stirrer in the rocks glass, but that’s no crime.