Mama always told us to be careful mixing vodka and bubbly. But mama…that’s where the fun is! A new spirit called Prévu is just that, a sparkling blend of 70% vodka and 30% cognac infused with blackberry, black currant, and raspberries. The new hooch held a media launch this week at Craig’s, exhibiting this new liqueur that finds raspberries heavy on the nose, mingling with the might of the wheat-based vodka. The product is the result of three years of R&D; from USC-grad Simon Tikhman, working with a team of distillers in Cognac, France, while the bottle looks designed by committee, a slender glass barrel with a sexy central curve, laser-etched with rising stalks and ending in a purple, bulbous Bozo nose that brings it in at a possible close second for the most sexually suggestive bottle in town, after Amoroso tequila.
Prying off this perverse, purple dome practically makes the 34-proof liqueur explode (we just opened our free bottle for a sip after a few days closed, lying on its side, and our hand nearly came off). The taste of this sparkler is fruit-forward on the front, edging into in a slightly bitter blast that highlights the vodka’s noticeable alcohol, with a deeper, slightly more elegant finish supplied by the cognac and lingering currants.
It’s a taste that, on its own, may have to be acquired. At first, we thought it was a little like a sizzurp-tinged vodka, but we’re starting to feel its balance of sweet, bubbly, and bitter straight from a flute, as the days progress (digress?). Still, Prévu lends itself quite well to mixing, both in cocktails and in food. Enter Craig’s, which, along with Tower Bar, 1902, and Chinois, is one of the first local restaurants to embrace Prevu.
Currently, Craig’s is using Prévu in both its food and cocktails, offering a dessert of vanilla bean pudding with a huckleberry compote infused with the stuff, permanent to its menu and from what we found, for good reason, and as the base of a reduction on the restaurant’s 35-day dry-aged steak with blue cheese and oyster mushrooms. Cocktails, also permanently added to the menu here, include a flute of Prévu mixed with Champagne, apricot juice, blueberry, and pomegranate, and a cocktail with honey whiskey, agave, and soda that was our favorite of the tasting.
Currently, Prévu is only being served in California, trying to find its niche in a spirits market Tikhman admits is “totally over-saturated.” Still, with friends in high places like Craig’s–where we saw Fergie, Josh Duhamel, and that Bill Maher Mini-Me Breckin Meyer dining among the Hollywood heavies that night–embracing the stuff, it’s probably got a fair shot.