Great happy hours are difficult to come by. Most of the time bars and restaurants tend to mail it in and pour well drinks or serve cheap beers from a bottle. Not at Comme Ca, David Myer's modern brasserie on Melrose. The mainstay has kept a steady flow of late afternoon imbibers with a revolving "Hourglass" happy hour cocktail menu that changes monthly, as well as a number of easy-to-share dishes like a quartet of oysters, shrimp cocktail, and truffle fries.
Bartender Jeff Knudsen has been around since the early days, when the likes of Sam Ross, Julian Cox, Michel Dozois, and Joel Black were introducing Los Angeles to fresh cocktails using quality produce and craft spirits. Comme Ca still uses large blocks of ice for its drinks, which is essential for something like their iconic Penicillin, which Ross brought over from New York's Milk & Honey. Knudsen breaks apart a few smaller pieces from a large chunk of ice and builds an El Ranchero, which takes tequila, cucumber and mint and strains it over crushed ice. It's as refreshing as a mojito, but less cloying.
The Aviation ($6) uses gin, fresh lemon juice, and creme de violette before it's shaken and served in a wine glass and garnished with maraschino cherry. Knudsen makes the Daywalker, a vodka drink made with St. Germaine, grapefruit, and soda that gets finished off with an Aperol spritz for an elegant, bitter finish. The lineups change every month depending on what the bartenders what to feature. Of course, since it's happy hour, they need to make sure the drinks can be made quickly for a bustling crowd. On a busy night, they'll make upwards of a hundred cocktails during happy hour alone.
·All Cocktail Week 2012 Coverage [~ELA~]