Corner Door’s Fall Cocktails: Grandmas, Assassins and 7 Minutes of Heaven

By Lanee Lee

When I lived around the corner from Washington Boulevard and Bundy in 2008, the hottest action in the neighborhood was the Hotcakes bakery that closed at 5 pm. Fast forward four years. This once dark and lonely block now has a bevy of stellar watering holes including Waterloo, A-Frame and now The Corner Door.

The Corner Door, opened in June of this year, is a bit deceiving on first impressions. It has that comfortable, everybody-knows-your-name neighborhood restaurant and bar feel. But behind the bar is a savant of cocktails.

Meet Beau du Bois, head barman and creator of the Corner Door’s cocktails. He hails from the Andaz West Hollywood and MB Post in Manhattan Beach. But this discreet corner in Culver City is now where he reigns supreme, stocking the bar with rare spirits and making his own bitters as well as three kinds of limoncello.

The Corner Door’s fall cocktail menu, launched on Halloween night, has been in the works for some time. Du Bois says he’s been crafting it since they opened, nearly five months ago. A perfectionist? Most definitely, but he keeps his libation literacy in check.

“We wanted to keep our drinks approachable, while throwing in some unknown ingredients, to appease both crowds,” he explains.

Beyond the seasonal cocktail menu, every week, Du Bois creates a new cocktail that spreads through the Twitter world like wildfire. He tracks their popularity and keeps honing new cocktails based on the local Culver City bar-goers feedback. This summer, the Miner Accident made with apricots, a take on the Gold Rush cocktail, took home the gold medal with the fans.

And if you don’t care to find out what pineau de charentes is or how long the housemade chili-chocolate bitters were aging before it hit your drink, there’s something for you too at The Corner Door. On the chalkboard at the end of the bar, the nightly cocktail specials included the Ghostbuster, the Gold Rush and the Anti-Mixology. Du Bois explains,  “The Anti-Mixology is a shot of whiskey and a can of beer, plain and simple. Sometimes what you need is just the basics, nothing complicated. And I’m here first to make sure people are happy.”

Being a bit of cocktail geek, I was happy sitting at the bar, sampling the Fall Menu, talking shop about which gin makes the best gimlet and finding out what the hell a Cocchi Americano and combier was.

The Corner Door’s fall drink menu, compliments of Mr. Beauty from the Forest aka Beau du Bois, is broken into two sections: Shaken or stirred. Word to the wise, if you don’t like boozy cocktails, stick to the shaken cocktails and vice versa if you don’t like fruity drinks.

From the Shaken menu, I tried the That Girl is Dangerous (reposado tequila, aperol, lemon and sugar) which is an L.A. fall kind of cocktail (like we don’t really have one) as it was the perfect pool sipper – light, fresh and with a little back door kick.

Secret Stachio intrigued me with its pistachio liqueur, cognac, combier (world’s first triple-sec), and lemon juice.  The pistachio was present, but only as a surprise on the palate at the end.

From the Stirred menu, I went with the Lumberjack Liquor Cabinet (bourbon, apple brandy, maple syrup and cinnamon smoke) which was a crisp air, leaves-turning kind of Fall cocktail.

Du Bois explained that he created the King’s Assassin (gin, blanc sweet vermouth, salers, Cocchi Americano, cointreau) to take out the world’s best cocktail in his opinion – the Negroni. Looking like a more like a dry martini than a Negroni, I had my doubts. But sure enough, it was like an albino Negroni – pale but perfectly personified.

I waited patiently all night to order the cocktail that piqued my interest from the start, not only with its ingredients but with its moniker: Grandma’s Pack of Cigarettes (rye, punt e mes, crème de cacao, coffee chili bitters). I was expecting some kind of stout, peaty cocktail, like a liquid ashtray. Nope. Obviously grandma was a lady and smoking Virginia Slims instead of Pall Malls as the cocktail was smooth and silky.

Other cleverly named cocktails on The Corner Door’s new cocktail menu include the 7 Minutes of Heaven (pear brandy, St. germain, lillet, lemon, nutmeg) and the Kinda Bougie (rye, quinaquina, pineau de charentes, apricot brandy).

Washington Boulevard has come a long way since I lived there with the newest addition of The Corner Door. It may be the new kid on the block but it certainly has the talent behind the bar and in the kitchen to become the Culver City go-to bar.

The Corner Door, 12477 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90066