Going to the bar can be a pretty standard affair. You grab a seat, peruse the menu and make a choice from a handful of selections crafted for your enjoyment. 643 North (643 N Spring St., Los Angeles, 90012; 213.687.8888) has changed all that. Now, you have a hand in crafting your own cocktail creation with 643 North’s Build Your Own Martini or Manhattan Bar (brought to you by Bar Manager Adam Acuff)!
643 North has assembled quite the list with which you can play mad scientist. The menu and DIY experience, starts with Step One: Choose Your Spirit. Select gin, vodka, bourbon or rye as your base, and within each section, there’s a ton of spirits to dive into. Among the choices of gin are Bols Genever, Hendrick’s and Plymouth Navy Strength, while vodka selections include Belvedere and Grey Goose, among others. Rye options have High West Campfire, Rittenhouse and Whistle Pig as three of the twelve varietals they offer, but then there’s the bourbon list. There are more than twenty labels to choose from, with Evan Williams, Fighting Cock, Hudson Four Grain and Woodford Reserve among them.
Next comes Step Two: Choose Your Vermouth. There are three sections to pick vermouth from: Dry (white), Sweet (red) and Aromatic. Bottles include Dolin Blanc, Lillet Rose and Punt e Mes, and if you haven’t got a clue how to work with vermouth, the menu has some helpful suggestions including how to make your drink perfect.
Then it’s on to Step Three: Choose Your Bitters. This part is also broken into two sections – light and dark, with numerous selections under each. Of the light options, there’s celery, habanero and spicy charred pineapple. Dark includes Memphis Barbecue, Orleans Coffee and barrel-aged spiced cherry.
Closing things out is Step Four: Don’t Forget The Garnish – and the flavor profiles to select from sound tasty enough to be a restaurant menu. Fruit options include house-brandied cherry and a grapefruit twist, while Savory treats host garlic olives and onions. Once you select your favorite, then that brings us to Step Five: Enjoy!
Don’t feel intimidated by the menu. Even if you’ve never sipped a Martini or Manhattan before, the bar staff is on hand to walk you through the creative process. They can explain the differences between bitters, vermouth, and even the perfect garnish to top it all off.
Whether you pick and choose on your own or call upon one of 643 North’s talented bar team to help you assemble your DIY drink, one thing’s for certain: you’ll enjoy having a hand in making your own version of a classic, timeless cocktail.
Photo Credit: Moretti Photography