Chef brings ‘charm’ to mixing fine drinks


Ron Oliver, the chef de cuisine at the Marine Room, wants to “give drinks their place in the culinary forum.”

“Drinks are staying the same as cuisine advances,” said Oliver. “They should be given the same treatment and attention as food, and I want to start a movement to make cocktails and drinks more culinary.”

To do his part in the promotion of liquids as a culinary form, Oliver has created his own book of drink recipes and his own line of “Drink Charms” to go with it.

The colorfully beaded Drink Charm rings are not to be mistaken for wine charms, for they have a higher purpose. They have been designed to fit a variety of stems and handles on everything from wine glasses to coffee cups. And they are designed to be “charming” while poignantly communicating Oliver’s underlying message.

Each Drink Charm has been designed and hand made by Oliver, who gives a great deal of credit to his wife Isabel for her contributions to the project.

“My wife is very detail-oriented,” explained Oliver. “She drove many of the intricate aspects like packaging the charms in a pouch with a labeled ribbon and box.

“She also did the hardware design and made the charms user-friendly.”

“The reason I got into cooking is because it’s the only art form I’m good at,” said Oliver, who has enjoyed discovering and pursuing his second calling and likens the creative process associated with it to preparing a delicious meal. “Walking into the bead store is kind of like walking into a food market,” he noted, citing all the shapes and colors and how an array of dissimilar items are brought together to create an appealing homogenous end result. “I’m combining components to create balance and complexity just like in the kitchen.”

The charms were constructed to match some of Oliver’s favorite drink recipes. Those recipes are available in the special photo-illustrated recipe book that accompanies the Drink Charms. The book includes a variety of globally-inspired libations.

“The recipes are very diverse,” said Oliver. “There are breakfast drinks, regional drinks, non-alcoholic drinks, classic drinks, hot drinks for cold days and vice versa.” The recipe book also contains techniques for infusing complimentary flavors into liquids. In keeping with Oliver’s movement, each recipe incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables and each drink pairs up with food recipes that are referenced in the book and available for free on Oliver’s official Web site,

Drink Charms will be offered with special introductory pricing and be available exclusively at for one year, after which they will also be offered for sale at boutique shops throughout San Diego. Currently, a complete set of all six Drink Charms is available for $48 as is a set of four for $38. Both sets include Oliver’s drink recipe book and sales tax applies to all orders.

Brandon Hernández has been featured numerous times on The Food Network hit program Emeril Live and is the author of a cookbook titled The Restaurant At Home. He offers his expertise on food via the San Diego-based Deep Crimson Culinary Visions and can be reached via e-mail at