Red Medicine Cures What Ails You
"We like to have at least one drink with an edible component."
In a town where everything from movies to doggie day care are hyped to death, Red Medicine is one of those few places that not only lives up to the hype — it surpasses it.
“We haven’t invented anything,” says managing partner Noah Ellis. “We just want to be good.”
An upscale, non-traditional Vietnamese restaurant from the same people that brought you the incredible Umami Burger, Red Medicine throws out the unique vibe of being a casual joint but with fine dining and even finer cocktails. The high ceilings lend an industrial loft kind of feel, but warm. The tall windows facing Wilshire Blvd. and their hard wood floors and tables soften everything. It’s a very relaxed, yet energetic atmosphere.
Though not a big list, the cocktail menu at Red Medicine prides itself on being different. Each drink is numbered and that number denotes when in the series the drink was created. The list includes a nice amount of exotic ingredients and herbs paired with small-batch spirits. “The bar program has evolved as we’ve gone,” says Ellis. “There are obvious (Asian) influences like lemongrass, but Vietnam was colonized by France so it has a strong European influence and that is what we are going for.”
These influences are most evident in their most popular cocktail, #62, which consists of rye, Benedictine, lemon, agave, and ginger beer. The drink is then shaken and served with pickled peppers and fennel fronds. Holy yum!
Says Ellis: “We like to have at least one drink with an edible component. It has to be something interesting visually but it also has to taste.”
And when Red Medicine does a twist on a classic cocktail, it really twists it. The #9.1 is their take on a Whiskey Sour with Batavia Arrack van Oosten, Tamarind, Demerera and served up with condensed milk foam and black lime. If you were to ever need a go-to nightcap, this drink would be it.
Ellis himself acknowledges that their bar program is not for everyone. “Some people are nervous (about the drinks). It can be really polarizing. Some hate it, some don’t.” And yet this polarization hasn’t stopped their creativity. They have invented their very own bottled cocktail! #69 is their take on the Aviation cocktail containing gin, elderflower, Creme de Violette, bitters and malic acid, then carbonated and bottled. Now that is mixology.
And if all of this doesn’t make you want to experience the uniqueness that is Red Medicine, how about this: They are open till 2 am! Ellis puts it simply. “We work late and it’s always annoying to get out at 1 am and rush to a place and it’s closed.”
Photo by Elizabeth Daniels
Red Medicine, 8400 Wilshire, Beverly Hills, CA, 90211