June 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

A.O.C. Stays True to Their Seasonal Sensibilities With a New Summer Cocktail Menu

SilverFox (tequila with jasmine horchata, lime, genepy and rosemary)
SilverFox: tequila with jasmine horchata, lime, genepy and rosemary (Aaron Cook | AACK Studio).

L.A. during the summer is overflowing with free concerts in unorthodox spaces (re: Santa Monica Pier, Skirball Cultural Center, Century City, etc.) Tie that in with the pool parties, food and drink festivals, and outdoor movie screenings, and you’ve got a recipe for endless fun. This focus on mass gatherings has ramped up the food truck and catering market, prompting special menus only available this estival. With the recent renaissance of seasonal foods and drinks, summer in the city has gotten decidedly tastier this year. Look for fresh summer produce while the days are still long; get items with basil, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, cucumbers, and watermelon.

a.o.c. on West Third Street is one such small plates restaurant that has always taken advantage of seasonal, locally source trends.

One’s of L.A.’s most inspired barmen, Christiaan Röllich, has concocted ten new must-have cocktails at a.o.c. and big sister restaurant, Lucques, for the designed for the summer season designed for perfect California weather, lush landscapes and warming temperatures. Like the rest of the menu, Röllich’s cocktails are motivated and created to pair with Chef Suzanne Goin’s summer menu.

Röllich’s story begins in a small village fifteen minutes outside Amsterdam, where he first knocked on the door of the local tavern in his Sunday’s best on his 14th birthday. Though he was told he was too young, the next birthday Röllich was back knocking on the tavern’s door. He got the job as a dishwasher.

Rothschild: buffalo trace bourbon with cigar liqueur and absinthe bitters (Aaron Cook | AACK Studio).
Rothschild: buffalo trace bourbon with cigar liqueur and absinthe bitters (Aaron Cook | AACK Studio).

As he grew up, he landed a few odd jobs before running away to, literally, join the circus as a carney. True to the typical L.A. narrative, Röllich saved up enough money to come to Hollywood to pursue acting and modeling while working as a busser for extra cash. He worked behind the bar when he could, and people began to mentor him. Once hired as a bartender at Lucques, the rest is history. His first invention: the fan-favorite Greenhouse, of a mix of vodka, grapefruit, cucumber and simple syrup. Though simple, this was a hit and became a real art form for both himself and his patrons.

Röllich relishes to make everything from scratch – from tinctures and syrups, to bitter and absinthe. He’s inspired by sheer experimentation and visits to the Farmers’ Market, an education itself in seasonal recipes.

Dr. Common: absinthe with pistachio, lime, chartreuse and egg white (Aaron Cook | AACK Studio).
Dr. Common: absinthe with pistachio, lime, chartreuse and egg white (Aaron Cook | AACK Studio).

Now, he’s invented this summer’s specialty beverages available throughout the season for brunch, lunch, afternoon, and dinner, at $14. Instead of a White Russian, try the Killerwhale, a Semper Fi Corn Whiskey with pecan, Génépi and Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. Instead of margarita, try the Peach Fever, made of tequila with peach, house tonic, lime, and Benedictine; or the Kent Cob, El Silencio Mezcal with house campari, hazelnut, lemon, and egg white. And if you’re looking for a refreshing spritzer with a kick, opt for the Aristocrat, made with
 Pimm’s with house tonic, Bols Genver, citrus, and soda.

The specialty cocktails also offer their own seasonal twist on the classics: there’s the Tennese Shandy, with Jack Daniel’s, house cola, lemon, ginger, vanilla, and Eagle Rock IPA; Rothschild, with Buffalo Trace bourbon, cigar liqueur, and absinthe bitters; or the Compound, of Compound gin, Suze, Benedictine, and house orange bitters.

Hit up a.o.c.’s Happy Hour, or as they call it “Cocktail Hour,” daily from 5 to 7 pm. Wine by the glass is $6, beer is $4, specialty cocktails are $10, and well drinks are $8.

Food’s important, too, at a.o.c. The Happy Hour tapas menu totes $5 bacon-wrapped dates with parmesan and $10 focaccias, cheese plates, and a Spanish fried chicken dish with romesco aioli and chili-cumin butter.

Aristocrat: pimms with house tonic, bols gender, citrus and soda (Aaron Cook | AACK Studio).
Aristocrat: pimms with house tonic, bols gender, citrus and soda (Aaron Cook | AACK Studio).

In 2002, the Lucques Group (named after the first restaurant) opened a.o.c. to fulfill California’s appetite for French cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Young Westsiders and the West Hollywood chic flock to a.o.c. for both the feasts of the mouth and the eyes. Designer Claire Stansfield curated a design of an airy, sophisticated space, ideal for after-work cocktails or brunch.

a.o.c is located at 8700 W. 3rd St. and open Monday from 11:30 am to 10 pm, Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 am to 11 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm, and Sunday 10 am to 10 pm.

For more information about a.o.c. call 310.859.9859 or visit aocwinebar.com.

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