You’re trapped on a desert island, but the good news is that you can bring five bottles of booze with you to pass the time. Look, there’s even ice and bar tools—you’re all set. What would you choose?
Longtime L.A. bartender extraordinaire Gabriella Mlynarczyk is currently behind the bar at Accomplice. She's known for her creative concoctions and always pushing the boundaries, whether it’s using unusual ingredients in drinks or coming up with creative new presentations. She's also the author of Loving Cup, a monthly blog where she dives into her latest inspirations and libations.
Now that Mlynarczyk finds herself on a desert island, she'll have to make due with decidedly fewer ingredients than she's accustomed to, winnowing down her favorite bottles and must-have selections to a meager five. This is what she came up with.
“This is pretty much my ketchup,” Mlynarczyk says of this sherry. “If I can find a way to sneak it into a cocktail, I will.”
The 5/41 refers to a specific bottling from Alexander Jules, taken from five of the 41 barrels of the top row of the Maruja solera from Juan Piñero's La Playilla de la Red bodega in Sanlúcar, Spain.
“I currently have it in four drinks on menus,” she says. “My favorite drink to make with it is a Rebujito, a Spanish apéritif-style drink that in its simplest form is two parts Manzanilla, one part lemon juice and one part simple syrup, served in a highball over rocks. Delightful!”
Choosing a go-to vermouth is no easy challenge, and Mlynarczyk found hers with the Alessio vermouth chinato from Tempus Fugit. “It's dark and brooding but plays well with others,” she says.
“It's my house sweet vermouth that goes in all my stirred and some shaken drinks calling for vermouth,” says Mlynarczyk. “It's also totally crushable by itself over ice with a splash of 7UP.”
Of course, not everything is meant to be low-ABV, and it was time for Mlynarczyk to select a full-strength spirit. She describes this mezcal as funky in all the right places. “Notes of smoky pepper and bright passion fruit make this a fantastic sipping mezcal” she says. “But it also works beautifully in drinks with a tropical style.”
“Try it instead of rum in a Piña Colada, with a pinch of smoked salt,” says Mlynarczyk.
Mlynarczyk looks even farther south for her next choice, heading to Peru to nab some pisco. “Elegant, floral and bright,” Mlynarczyk says of her choice. “This is another spirit I would like to have by my side on the island, especially if there’s an abundance of limes and sugar cane growing on it. I'd die a happy human slurping makeshift Pisco Sours.”
She adds, “I'm currently making a drink on the menu at Accomplice inspired by a 50/50 Martini, and my version uses Capurro, pandan-infused sake and, of course, Manzanilla sherry.”
Nothing says paradise like sipping from one of your favorite bottles ever. “It's like gold dust,” Mlynarczyk says of Yamazaki 18-year-old. “It’s expensive and almost as impossible to find as unicorn tears, but holy hell, is it worth it when you do get your hands on it.”
No extra ingredients are needed here. “I would not sully this beauty with anything else,” says Mlynarczyk. “It's best drunk neat while watching the sunset, with the crashing waves or a crackling fire as the soundtrack to your life.”
Mixing your cocktail