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Paradise in a glass

Watertable’s beverage director, Roxana Pavel, spends her days experimenting. Her “laboratory” consists of beakers filled with tinctures and reductions, rare spices and seasonal fruits. On my recent visit, Pavel’s short blond hair sashayed as she vigorously shook, then carefully poured her latest experiments into coupe glasses lined up like stout soldiers on Watertable’s dark wooden bar. 

Pavel spent a few years dabbling in Washington, D.C., restaurants before she traded Capitol Hill for California. Now she compares her role to being a cocktail mad scientist. In a medium saucepan behind the bar, an IPA simmered for hours until it reduced into dark brown syrup. This was a critical ingredient for Pavel’s otherworldly East of Eden cocktail. Apple-infused Gentleman Jack whiskey exuded the fruity aroma of a ripe orchard. Upon first sip, the cocktail’s IPA simple syrup tricked the tongue. A toasted, nutty flavor with a sweet tinge of buttery caramel followed by a soothing creaminess from a frothy organic egg white washed over the palate. As the ice melted, the Chinese five-spice blend dissipated into the cocktail. It tasted like apple cobbler.

Pavel checked her simmering IPA reduction. She gave it a quick stir and then returned to her other projects. As she continued to mix, shake then strain, I reclined in my chair and smiled. I sipped a slice of heaven.



2 oz. apple-infused Gentleman Jack whiskey

1 oz. IPA simple syrup (recipe below)

½ oz. lime juice

1 egg white

2 dashes walnut bitters


Vigorously dry-shake all ingredients for one minute. Add ice and shake for an additional minute. Strain over a Chinese five-spice-infused ice cube.


Apple-infused Gentleman Jack whiskey

Cut four apples into cubes. Add to a bottle of Gentleman Jack whiskey. Infuse for three days, then strain.

IPA simple syrup

Simmer 3 quarts of IPA beer on a very low heat until it reduces to 1 quart. Add 1 4 ½ cups of sugar. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Cool.

Chinese five-spice ice cubes

Dissolve 1 tablespoon of Chinese five-spice blend into 1 quart of hot water. Pour liquid into an ice cube mold. Freeze.

Watertable at Hyatt Huntington Beach, 21500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach 714.845.4776 :: watertablehb.com  

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