Eric Alperin made a name for himself behind the bar at The Screening Room in Manhattan—he was the quickest draw in downtown. But it was the craft of cocktails that caught Alperin’s attention, slowed his pace, and drew him to Lupa and then Sasha Petraske’s seminal mixology havens Milk & Honey and Little Branch.
While his time at Lupa gave him expertise in Italian liquors and a taste of cocktail creation and modification, it was his experience at Milk & Honey and Little Branch that laid the foundation for his classic cocktail expertise. Alperin drank up the methods, precision, style, and roots of making classic cocktails, and sunk his teeth into the importance of fresh ingredients and the careful selection of liquors.
Alperin headed out west three years ago and settled into Los Angeles’ small but passionate and ever-growing cocktail community. He coupled his craft cocktails with food at Osteria Mozza, where his mix mastery won praise on TV shows and national publications (like “After Hours with Daniel” and Vogue). He then moved to Cedd Moses’ self-proclaimed “luxury lair” The Doheny, a private club wholly dedicated to the art of cocktails.
In early 2009, Alperin teamed up with Sasha Petraske and Cedd Moses to open The Varnish in downtown LA. There in the back room of the landmark (and remastered à la Cedd Moses) Cole’s French Dip, Alperin created a modern speakeasy-style lounge that focuses on classic American cocktails made with exacting precision.
More recently, Alperin was featured in Tasting Panel magazine as one of “America’s Best Bar Chefs,” and in the LA Weekly’s “The New Cocktailians” article. He is currently working on his B. A. R. Master certification. Additionally, Alperin consults for Steve Olson’s wine and spirits education company, aka wine geeks, and is the Vice President of the Southern California chapter of The United States Bartenders Guild.