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Cocktail: William's Little Italy at Michael's in Santa Monica.

January 28, 2011
  • Our weekly column of drink recipes from the Southland's best restaurants and bars.
Our weekly column of drink recipes from the Southland's best restaurants… (Tara Godvin/For The Times )

Michaels, the landmark Santa Monica restaurant with one of the most romantic back patios in the city, has just introduced a guest mixologist program. Now you can sample creative cocktails from a rotating cast of tastemakers while supping on chef Michael McCarty's classic California cuisine (he was doing local and sustainable long before it was all the rage). Currently there is a whiskey drink on the menu called "William's Little Italy" that can knock you over with a single sip. Made with straight rye whiskey mixed with a clever sampling of fine Italian apertifs, the drink inhabits a universe of bittersweet flavor where notes of vanilla, rhubarb, licorice, orange and peach bounce off of one another like pieces of cosmic dust. Suffice it to say that this dark beauty demands respect.

William's Little Italy by William Perbellini

1 ounce R1 straight rye whiskey

1 ounce Dimmi Liquore di Milano

1/2 ounce Averna Amaro

1/2 ounce Zucca Rabarbaro

3 dashes of Fee Brothers peach bitters

Mix and strain over an ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Michaels, 1147 Third St., Santa Monica. Lunch: Mon-Fri, noon to 2:30 p.m.; dinner: Mon-Sat, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (310) 451-0843;

— Jessica Gelt

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