Friday, July 19, 2024

The Ordinarie rediscovered this cocktail birthed in Long Beach 65 years ago


As we push toward celebrating Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call—a 10-day, 15-event celebration of our city’s rich bar culture and the people who make it happen—we will offer a series of features that highlight everything from our most stellar cocktail programs at restaurants to to the very events occurring (like a look into the special Last Call menu The Ordinarie is offering)… All in order to lift a glass to a social and economic driver that rarely receives the love its deserves: our bar industry. For more information on Long Beach Last Call, click here.

It was 1957 at Alamitos Bay and The Captain’s Inn was quite the spot for a sexy night out when it opened that year: Perched over the marina and docked yachts, the space used its second floor as a tiki bar named The Hukilau—and it was there that “Captain’s Grog” was birthed in 1962.

A blend of Jamaican and Demerara rums with Key lime, their own house syrups—and what would eventually include vanilla and almond flavors I the Captain version—and a variety of other flavors, it wasn’t until author and bartender Jeff “Beachbum” Berry recovered the lost recipe that the crew at The Ordinarie were able to take it on themselves.

And for Long Beach Last Call, general manager and former bartender Kayla Bohner has crafted a three-cocktail menu that she says is “dedicated to the locals in a variety of ways.”

The Ordinarie’s special menu for Long Beach Last Call is a “dedication to the locals”

The Ordinarie has always had one of the city’s best bar programs, being host to some of Long Beach finest to flex their talent, from David Castillo (now at Marlena) to Jesse Rodriguez and Colby Sue, currently behind the bar. They were one of the first places to catalogue their drinks, where recipes were backlogged and each creator was given a credit along with the year they created it, allowing The Ordinarie to produce a Long Beach-centric cocktail database.

“Everyone knows a cocktail—no matter where you’re at—is a riff on a riff on a riff of something that was already created,” Bohner said. “It’s not necessarily entirely impossible to create something purely original but it is likely it will be something you’ve seen or tasted before—but we still want to acknowledge that Long Beach is home to some really great talent behind the bar. And we want to record and recognize that.”

That doesn’t mean that you won’t find straight-up, by-the-book classics like an Army Navy or a gimlet—but they also like to explore upon that as well, with drinks like Captain’s Grog and other obscure, old-school cocktails.

“Sure, you might know what an Old Fashioned is but do you know what an Old Pal is?” Bohner said, noting the classic cocktail that blends rye, Campari, and sweet vermouth. “So with our menu for Last Call, we wanted a bit of that: the new and the not new. And most importantly, we really wanted to give something to the locals so each drink is really a part of Long Beach.”

So what are these cocktails The Ordinarie is featuring Mar. 1 through Mar. 10?

Playing with history (“Captain’s Grog”), place (The Promenade in DTLB), and the spirit behind The Ordinarie (a house punch from the 1700s), here are the cocktails to be featured on The Ordinarie’s Last Call menu.

The Promenade Manhattan (Colby Sue, 2023): Rye Whiskey | Luxardo Maraschino | Amaro Cio Ciaro | Cardamom | Citrus Zest

Captain’s Grog: Light Rum | Aged Rum | Dark Rum | Ginger Liquor | Orange Curacao | Grapefruit | Lime | Maple | Vanilla & Almond

Philadelphia Fish House Punch (Philadelphia, 1732): Dark Rum | Brandy | Black Tea Oleo | Citrus Juices | House-made Peach Shrub

Wait–you mention “Long Beach Last Call.” What is it?

After the success of my restaurant week last year during August, Long Beach Food Scene Week, bar owners and tenders rightfully asked: “What about a week for us?”

So I decided to oblige and present Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call, a ten-day long celebration of Long Beach’s amazing bar culture, it’s even more amazing workers, and the industry that often goes without recognition as one of our city’s largest economic and social drivers. 

And The Ordinarie will also be participating in the Long Beach Food Scene DTLB Crawl, which will kick off at The Altar Society on Friday, Mar. 8 at 7PM.

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The Ordinarie is located 210 The Promenade N.

Editor’s note: This article originally misstated that Navy Grog was the precursor to Captain’s Grog.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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