Pablo Moix is standing in his own, brand-new bar, Pour Vous, but he can’t stop talking about the new cocktail program he and business partner Steve Livigni are starting at Josiah Citrin’s Santa Monica, California restaurant, Melisse.
“Everything Josiah works with is the best. The best ingredients, the best equipment. People are amazed at his wine list… So when I built his bar program, I built that with all the best, too.”
Pablo is talking about exclusive spirits and elixirs, but he and Livigni have developed their reputations as being among the best bar men around. A few weeks later, Melisse is hosting an event to celebrate the new cocktail program’s debut. As frosty glasses of “Les Restes” (Death’s Door vodka, crushed grapes and lychee, shaken with egg whites) are passed, and Michelin two star award-winning Chef Citrin, himself, delicately pieces together icy towers of geleed rum tipples, it’s clear to see the respect Moix and Livigni have earned, and why.
In the room are some of LA’s brightest beverage folk. This one is a fellow bar/restaurant owner, and his eyes light up as he presses the restaurant’s nouveau take on the Zombie (three rums, house-made passion fruit “dipping dots,” mint gelee and passionfruit juice) into a newcomer’s hand. There’s a small group gathered around a cocktail writer in the corner, who’s been talking up the virtues of his American Trilogy (Sazerac rye whisky, Applejack Bonded, Regan orange bitters), as he appreciatively drains his glass. There’s a chef across the room who just reached for her second Dauphine (gin, cucumber and lemon, topped with citrus air).
Before this new cocktail launch, Citrin offered his guests classic mixed drinks, but with the new wave of craft cocktails, old standbys weren’t enough. It took months of collaboration with Moix and Livigni, an entirely new inventory of premium liquors, and even an innovative reinvention of beverage service, (wherein the cocktail list is presented with the Champagne cart), but only the best will do for Citrin. And the best is what he has.