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May 2015 Issue / Vol. 3, No. 10                                                                                                                                       
Message in a bottle.

Iron Chef/Restaurateur Victor Casanova

Executive Chef
Martin Scott

May 2015
Chef's Larder

Chef de Cuisine
Colin Rupp

Melkon Khoshrovian talks about what goes into every bottle of Grand Poppy Liqueur.

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Sumac Berries:
Think Lemons

The Dining Room

Sarah Beth Spear
Rum Princesa

Yogurt by Janet Fletcher

A Year in Champagne
The Movie

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Grand Poppy Liqueur made by Greenbar Craft Distillery in Los Angeles, CA

The Armenian tradition of toasting throughout the meal with fruit brandy or vodka at family gatherings made sense to Melkon Khosrovian. But not so much to his African/Indian fiancé, Litty Mathew. She likened the libations to “jet fuel” or “nail polish.” “So I began to make things for her that I thought she would like so she could participate in these family gatherings,” Khosrovian said. Now, 13 years and many trial-by-errors later, the couple owns Greenbar Craft Distillery, the sole craft distillery in Los Angeles. The business that blossomed out of love has developed a line of distinctive organic libations for people who lean toward artisanal and quality products and look for the new and different. Such as Grand Poppy Liqueur. “We thought of using poppy as one of the cooling agents in our liqueurs,” Khosrovian explained how the idea came about. “We make a hibiscus liqueur and a jasmine liqueur. We thought, Wow. This will be a cool, sweet liqueur. It’s beautiful and would be a good compliment to the rest of our line. Until we tried it and discovered how incredibly bitter poppies are. In the context of a bitter liqueur, however, it works. It just sings.” It took a trip back to the drawing board before they understood just what they had. “After we got over how incredibly bitter it was,” Khosrovian discussed the process, “the thing that got us excited in making it was capturing the sense of place, not just in terms of plain ingredients of things that grow in our state, but the idea of California, itself.” They used the bitter-sweet Italian liqueur, Amaro, as an archetype. “Bartenders have fallen in love with Amaro,” Khosrovian said, “which gives you access to herbs and roots that grow in the Alps. The mountain flowers and roots give you the taste of Italian and Swiss Alps. Well, we have similar things that give you a sense and taste of California. It took us down this veritable rabbit hole of ideas to capture all of the crux of California.”