Doug Thompson
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Riviera Supper Club & Turquoise Room

7777 University Avenue, La Mesa




The Riviera Supper Club’s bartender is a multimedia artist. An accomplished painter (theartsnob.com) and Art Institute of Chicago graduate, Doug Thompson is equally at home with sable brushes and glass swizzle sticks. But it’s the mixable masterpieces that he’s best known for — at least to the Riviera’s customers.

Thompson’s signature drink, the Art Snob, is solid “proof” that good art can be produced for the masses. The Snob’s high octane, he says, means the whiskey’s taste thrives in the mix. Also vital to the drink is the orange. “A lot of people ruin whiskey with a lime,” Thompson says. Add bitters to whiskey and orange, and you have a perfect three-way conversation.

“There’re subtle hints of orange that bring out a bit of the bourbon’s sweetness, while the bitters tone it down, keeping it from being too sweet.” The ginger ale lets the concoction mellow out — “You wouldn’t want the drink to stay 103 proof because you can’t really drink 103 proof and enjoy it. It’s about balance.”

Kitchen proof: Despite the name, the Art Snob is an easy drink to like — the whiskey, orange, and bitters hold the attention in a perfect shimmer of bright and bosky taste.

The ART SNOB

In pint or highball glass filled with ice, pour:

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 10 drops of fresh orange juice
  • 1¾ oz. Fighting Cock (103 proof) or Knob Creek (100 proof) bourbon
  • Top off with ginger ale
  • Add twist of orange rind for garnish, stir with straw or swizzle, sinking rind to the bottom.
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