I drink a lot of Fernet. I also drink a lot of Rye. However, I never thought of combining the two in the same drink. So when I read the ingredients in the Lost Hollywood on the menu at the Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge on Vine in Hollywood, I had to try it. Rye, Fernet Branca, grapefruit peel, served up. Three Clubs’ website homepage proclaims that it is “Your favorite bartender’s favorite bar.” Thanks to the Lost Hollywood, Three Clubs is now my favorite bar, or at least one of them.
I asked the bartender what kind of rye he used in the Lost Hollywood. “Old Overholt,” he said. More loyal to Bulleit when it comes to rye whiskey, I wavered for a second, then decided to err on the side of restraint and said, “I’ll just take two Golden Road IPAs.” As though reading my mind and nudging me to abandon my course of caution, the bartender said, “It’s a great drink,” referring to the Lost Hollywood. Sold. “I’ll have one of those, too,” I said.
Why not? Sunday night for me is like Friday and Saturday nights for everyone else, time to let loose after toiling behind the bar all weekend, and once I start slugging, there’s no turning back. Hence, at that moment, it didn’t feel the least bit excessive to double-fist a hoppy IPA and a very potent cocktail with two of my favorite liquors in it.
How was the drink, you ask? Delicious. The robust rye balanced the herbaceous liqueur perfectly, with the Grapefruit peel’s slightly bitter, citrusy zest tempering the sweetness of the Fernet. “Is it just rye, Fernet, and bitters?” I asked, the bartender after downing the last drop (I’d noticed he added a dash of Angostura bitters to his mixing glass as he stirred the cocktail). “And a bit of sugar,” he said.
There you have it, a blissful marriage of the two spirits most dear to my whiskey- and Fernet-loving heart. Were I to mix the cocktail myself, I’d probably omit the sugar altogether as the drink was a bit sweet for my palate, accustomed as it is to Fernet, chilled, and taken straight up, or whiskey, neat. “It is a great drink,” I told the bartender. “Great drinks are usually simple,” he said.
Thus, amidst a night of debauchery, my alcohol education continued, and I’ve a feeling I’ll be appropriating the Lost Hollywood, or some variation of it, and serving it to my most discriminating clientele in the near future, perhaps my next shift even. As my boss, AKA The Guvna, says, “Gotta educate ‘em.”
Three Clubs educated me. Now, I must pass it on.