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GOING OUT

What I'm Drinking

March 18, 2004|Chris Rubin

The Chiew

Typhoon, 3221 Donald Douglas Loop S., Santa Monica, $8.50

Drinks can come from the high-priced top shelf, from cheap bottles in the well or, at Typhoon, from the large jar at the back of the bar. Ask for the Chiew and the bartender will ladle some murky, light brown liquid through a strainer and into a tiny carafe, which is then poured tableside into a martini glass.

What's in that large jar? It looks like a witch's cauldron, with sea dragons, caterpillars, deer antler and a variety of herbs, leaves and roots from the Chinese pharmacopoeia, all macerating in 15 liters of Stolichnaya vodka. Owner Brian Vidor, a helicopter pilot who worked for years in Asia, sampled similar concoctions in Taiwan and enlisted local herbalist Ron Teegarden to create this intoxicating tonic for general well-being.

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