It was happy hour at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills, just the right time and place for what was, let’s say, a most unusual product demonstration. There were misconnections, a trio of Dicks, a bottle that walked out the door, an offer among adjacent barstool occupants of a Hollywood deal, and if I correctly recall, something close to fisticuffs. In other words, it was one of your usual saloon affairs, only in a smart atmosphere with sophisticated barflies in the middle of the upscale dining and shopping area of Beverly Hills.

But I dither.

We were finally situated in a corner of the bar there to test-drive EVOL, a new entry in the world of spirits that presents itself in a blackened bottle with a skull as a label.  In case you didn’t notice, and despite the biker imagery, that’s LOVE spelled backwards. It is a new 74-proof grain-based spirit emphatically flavored with clove and cinnamon conjured up by a pair of young entrepreneurs, “Baltimore” George Antonakas and Torrey James Ward. It is made in West Los Angeles in one of only two distilleries in the city. And lest you might think that EVOL is not good for you, know that it is organic, naturally flavored and made without sugar. Instead, it is sweetened with stevia. It was, in fact, the world’s first distilled spirit in that category.


When I noted a passing similarity to certain other branded spirits, I was firmly advised that it was nothing like Fireball, the cinnamon-flavored whiskey, or Jagermeister, the sweet, flavored hootch favored in snowy settings and by younger tipplers. But let’s face it, I ventured, EVOL is aimed at a certain demographic, is it not, one that attends clubs when the rest of us are cleaning out the cat box or watching old movies in our Dr. Dentons? Well, kind of.

Things were going well, I thought, and soon Wolfgang’s head bartender Liam had been corralled for a demonstration. He put the establishment’s bottle of EVOL in front of us, the one brought for the purpose having disappeared in a blizzard of happenstance, poured a dram straight and waited for the tentative first sips. Pretty smooth. Definitely on the sweet side. Nice burn of decent alcohol content.  Brisk slap of clove and cinnamon.

But what cocktail might be made with it, Liam was asked. Perhaps a Manhattan? Foghorn-voiced Liam looked pained. No, he said, the sweet vermouth in the usual recipe would be supernumerary as would the bitters. What would be the point?

So Liam was set free to conjure a proper cocktail using EVOL. That turned out to be a nice little number with vodka, presumably to dilute the clove-cinnamon impact a megaton or so, and lime juice to mollify the sweetness. Not bad. Kind of a lime gimlet with hair.


Then, the requisite product appreciation behind us, my feisty host and I repaired to our martinis. Where, face it, we were most comfortable. And, more or less, everyone survived.



What is EVOL? (Pronounced like ‘Evil’)


is the world’s first sweet-tasting, sugar-free distilled spirit.


is a spicy new, 74-proof artisanal distilled spirit that has more alcohol than its sugar-filled competitors, and it tastes great at room temperature.


is a versatile, naturally flavored, organic libation that can be enjoyed as a shot, on the rocks, or in mixed drinks (mixologists love its endless possibilities).


proprietary spice blend with hints of natural cinnamon and clove is intermingled with a gluten-free, sugar-free, Stevia-sweetened base to create an easy-drinking spirit that has no equal.

Who is EVOL?


is handmade in beautiful Los Angeles, CA by Baltimore George and Torrey James Ward. After winning a poker tournament in Atlantic City, George decided to go all-in and start the EVOL Empire with his old friend Torrey. Two guys, with literally no experience in the alcohol industry, set out on the improbable journey to create “The Best Shot in the Bar.” Along the way, they decided to make EVOL sugar-free, so as to have a truly unique product and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. They never listened to anybody who told them that it couldn’t be done. The product you see before you is the result of years of hard work and dedication. George and Torrey truly hope you enjoy it, and they thank you for your support.



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Filed under Beverly Hills, cocktails gone wild, drinks, Food/drink, Happy Hours, imbibing, manhattans, martinis, restaurants, the drinking life, When pigs fly

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