Market Run with Program Manager, Shawn Lickliter from République
On a beautiful 70 something Tuesday afternoon, we headed out to Culver City to do something a little different than what we’re used to and go behind the scenes with a new friend of ours, Shawn Lickliter, who’s the Bar Program Director at République in Hancock Park. If you haven’t already heard of République and their amazing French inspired fare where simplicity and divine intricacy find a harmonious medium, well, now you have. This notion of balance is true for both the food menu, and the cocktail menu, which is where Shawn comes in. He was kind enough to share with us the proud details of their unique, ever-changing drink menu, how to pick the best produce, and exactly what goes into their market selection at one of our new favorite spots under the Los Angeles sky.
We met up at the head of the market with ample time to shop before Shawn went in to prepare for the evening. “Where most bars/restaurants change menus seasonally, we change as the the market advances or produces amazing things,” says Shawn. He also explained to us how République’s beverage menu is geared around 3 categories: Aperitifs, Market, and Traditional. “It's honestly the most intensive and fun bar I've ever worked in. To be able to show an ingredient as it's flourishing at the market for even one or two days is amazing, and taking it in another direction and preserving is another.”
We walked over to the citrus fruits where fresh, light, air and crisp refreshing scents surrounded us as Shawn gathered a few mandarin oranges. Next he presented to us an oro blanco, which is basically a white grapefruit that is much sweeter and in turn not quite as bitter as your typical grapefruit. He explained to us how he’ll take a peel off of the entire fruit and infuse it into Punt e Mes, which is like a Vermouth Amaro. He lets it sit overnight and uses it for a house cocktail comprised of grapefruit juice, the oro blanco infused Punt e Mes, tequila, and lime. “It’s crazy simple but when you try it, it tastes just like grapefruit.” All of the République cocktails are simply named what they are, or rather, what their main flavor component is, such as, you guessed it, “Grapefruit”. Simplicity tends to be a theme here, if only to not mask the identity of the drink itself.
He shared with us a few tips on how to pick the best produce depending on the part of the fruit they use, and what for. “When I first started at République, I’d come out to the market with the chef like once a week. We’d go to the Santa Monica Market - which is huge. He basically showed us why, say, this strawberry is awesome, and why this one sucks. He taught us that you just have to imagine what it’s going into. Berries were the hardest because they’re really inconsistent. For instance one batch of raspberries will be sweet, and the next batch will be super sour.”
Soon our trip to the market began to come to a close, we digressed and spoke about our personal new-found love for République and our excitement to come in to have Shawn stand center stage and show us what he has up his sleeve. We sampled some fruit as he picked up the last few things on his list, then we said our goodbyes. République is open every day from 8am-3pm for brunch, and 5pm-10pm for dinner, head on in, grab some sweet potato beignets and a cocktail to remember.