After developing solid cocktail programs at Terrine and Viviane, Ryan Wainwright was tasked with developing Korean cocktails to pair with Chris Oh's meat-centric fare at Hanjip in Culver City. Taking inspiration from Korean soft drinks, Wainwright spikes ingredients such as yogurt and aloe vera with Korea's most popular alcoholic beverage, soju. Far removed from the sickly sweet connotations of soju cocktails past, drinks like the The Facial, a refreshing blend of genmaicha-infused soju, aloe juice, and ginger are pleasant sippers that go down all too well with succulent plates of barbecue.
The Rose has a good thing going on with a menu chock full of just about everything you want to eat. But it's worth a visit to the revamped Venice institution for the drinks alone. The cocktail program by Nick Meyer is market-driven and refreshingly unique. Be sure to go for the Macadamia Phosphate, the unbelievably smooth concoction that blends house macadamia nut orgeat with rums, acid phosphate, and vermouth. The drink is a study of acid — no citrus juices are found here, but that signature tiki tang comes by way of the natural acidity of the vermouth and acid phosphate alone. Finished with sea salt, the macadamia flavor is celebrated in a way you've probably never seen before.
Scopa Italian Roots
It's been about two and a half years since bar maestros Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix opened up Scopa Italian Roots with Top Chef contestant Antonia Lofaso. Enter its brick walled digs on any night of the week and find a restaurant with the same bustle and buzz as one that just opened its doors. This, of course, means there are few better places on the Westside to belly up to the bar to sip on some of the cocktail mavens' best hits, like the East India, a smooth blend of Cognac, maraschino, lemon, pineapple, and Angostura bitters.
Republique's cocktail program is most known for its supremely refreshing Celery cocktail. Along the same lines is a new libation that comes by way of bar director Shawn Lickliter, The Pineapple. As the name would imply, pineapple flavor is first and foremost. Although there is an undeniably boozy kick, it's a challenge to call out the liquor. Perhaps it's because Lickliter mitigates the smoky bite of scotch by infusing it with chamomile and blending with with pisco, enhancing the subtle floral notes of the pineapple, which ultimately pair well with some of chef Manzke's more Southeast Asian-leaning dishes.
Take a quick trip to Southern Spain courtesy of Moruno, where managing partner David Rosoff is putting his spin on the Negroni with his housemade vermouth. A nicely balanced blend of vermina red and white vermouth, gin, bitter orange, and a lemon twist, the riff on the classic libation is a little richer than you may be accustomed to. Pair it with some anchovies or gildas, and imagine yourself right on the Mediterranean Sea.
It seems Bestia can do no wrong, stirring up exactly what you want to sip to whet your appetite for the meal to come. One of the newest libation that tastes of the season is the Duke Silver, a complex mix of prickly pear spirit, green chartreuse, pineapple juice, egg white, lime juice, and a fernet branca rinse for a fruity twist on the classic fizz.
Were you as disappointed as we were when we learned that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter's butterbeer is woefully non-alcoholic? Thankfully, Sotto bar manager Brynn Smith concocted butterbeer as we all hoped it would be: spiked with Tito's vodka-based butterscotch liqueur. Carbonated, bottled, then poured over Angostura whipped cream, it's nothing less than magical.
Hinoki & The Bird
With a new chef at the helm, Century City's hidden gem is better than ever. There's no better place in this neck of the woods to pull up to the bar and sip a well crafted libation. The Smashing Leaves, a blend of bourbon, kumquat, lemon, and shiso, is exactly what you need to take off the post-work edge. Subtly sweet with enough acidity to brighten up the caramel notes of the bourbon, it's the embodiment of the restaurant in a glass.
EP & LP
As the days grow longer and the days warmer, there's no better time to revisit the stunning rooftop bar that is LP. With panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills and a new and improved cocktail menu, LP may just be the most pleasant place to be to sip on an evening libation. Don't skip the updated boozy boba drinks, like the Californication with rum, Campari, coconut, pineapple, and passionfruit boba. With soft boba pearls that explode with tropical flavor and the complexity that comes with the Campari, it's exactly what you want to sip as the weather heats up.