Are you looking for innovative, cutting-edge cocktails around Lake Charles? Check out Heist Wine Bar at 700 Ryan St. on Thursday through Saturday evenings beginning at 6 p.m.

Owner Brian Vallier recently hired master mixologist Gary Cooper as his head bartender. Cooper spent several years in the Pacific Northwest, perfecting his trade. Vallier convinced him to return to his southwest Louisiana roots and share his knowledge of spirits with southwest Louisiana. The two men are committed to delighting their patrons with enticing creative cocktails.

For Cooper, a cocktail is more than a simple beverage. “Every spirit and cocktail has a story,” he says. “This story speaks a novel; long after the drink has been enjoyed.”

Cooper shared his recipe for a cocktail called Ephemeral. “It’s a remarkable cocktail,” he says. “It’s well-balanced – not overly sweet, not overly dry – citrusy and earthy.”

Ephemeral:

1.5 oz Hendricks gin
1oz blanco vermouth
5 oz St Germaine's elderflower au d'vie liquor
3 dashes celery bitters (Cooper makes his own)

Stir and serve in a cocktail or martini glass with a flamed peel of grapefruit.

With his love of architecture, clever eye for design, and entrepreneurial vision, Vallier built his one-of-a-kind wine bar within the walls of what was once a historic Lake Charles bank building. It’s earning a valid reputation as a romantic establishment. In their first year, they hosted twelve engagements and multiple weddings and receptions.

In addition to cocktails, Heist offers an extensive collection of wines and quality spirits. Cooper is considering developing a line of aged cocktails.

Using an old family recipe, Vallier plans to open an Oyster Bar in the near future to complement their small plate menu. For a unique, fun, romantic evening, visit Heist Wine Bar soon!