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Caroline on Crack's Ten Best Cocktails in L.A. Right Now

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Blogger Caroline on Crack is known around L.A. as one of the true cocktail arbiters of the city. Notoriously picky about quality and consistency, she's almost always the first to the scene of a new restaurant or bar to make sure the drinks are up to snuff.

Over the years, Caroline has grown her namesake blog and contributes to L.A. Magazine's Digest Blog covering new openings around town. Here now, a list of the 10 best cocktails she's had recently in Los Angeles.
[Photo: Matthew Kang]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Negroni at Comme Ça

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8479 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 782-1104
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This bar program was put together by Sam Ross and as one of his favorite drinks, they continue to make this very well.{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

2. Margarita at Petty Cash Taqueria

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7360 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 933-5300

Put together by barman Julian Cox, this simple and effective drink is great because Petty Cash is a go-to restaurant nearby Caroline's house. And sometimes, she just wants to have a sure thing without thinking. Be sure to ask for "the good shit" mezcal.

3. White Russian at 320 Main

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320 Main St
Seal Beach, CA 90740
(562) 799-6246
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When Caroline started drinking, oh, a few many years ago, her cocktail of choice was the White Russian. And the version made at this Seal Beach is the best she's had, made with gin by bartender Jason Schiffer. It's the perfect balance between sweet, coffee, and creamy. Also called the Male Order Bride at 320 Main.

4. Nightshift at The Tasting Kitchen

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1633 Abbot Kinney Rd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 392-6644
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Originally at sister restaurant (now closed) The Parish, this bourbon cocktail is made with Czech fernet, espresso, pu-erh tea, chocolate syrup, and milk is a "perfect nightcap," according to Caroline. Moreover, it made her "want to guzzle it greedily but its depth of flavors compelled [her] to sip and savor." {Photo: Caroline on Crack]

5. Last Tango at Modena by Matthew Biancaniello

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The Roosevelt Hotel
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 466-7000
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One of the most universally beloved drinks by farmers market barman Matthew Biancaniello, the Last Tango at Modena was once a popular order at the mixologist's stand inside the Hollywood Roosevelt's Library Bar. Made with muddled strawberries, Hendricks gin, and aged balsamic vinegar, then topped with St. Germain foam for an addictive, sweet, tangy drink, it turns one of her favorite desserts into a cocktail. Though Biancaniello no longer mixes here, (future bar location t.b.a) this was where Caroline first fell in love with the barman's unique style of making drinks.{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

6. Hoodlum at The Corner Door

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12477 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 313-5810
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This new cocktail by Beau du Bois uses Armagnac, a syrup made from pumpkin beer, and peated clove tixture that, "evokes memories of enjoying a pumpkin pie by the fireplace," says Caroline. Going on, she writes, "Forget Pumpkin Spice Lattes, give me one of these! Potent, rich and downright delicious."{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

7. Battery Park at Goldie's

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8422 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 677-2470
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This cross between two classics, the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned at this Mid-City restaurant is bartender Brittini Rae's personal favorite on the menu. The ice sphere is made with Peychaud's bitters and doesn't get watered down after being made with 100 proof rye, Punt e Mes, maple, and peach bitters.{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

8. Song of Solomon at Eveleigh

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8752 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 239-1630
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This new drink on Eveleigh's menu by barman Dave Kupchinsky took two months of about $1,000 of material to perfect the recipe, which uses Willet 4-year 110 proof rye, vermouth de chambery, maraschino, cynar, and locally-made Miracle Mile celery bitters. Says Caroline, "And wouldn’t you know it, it was perfection with the celery complementing the Cynar and bringing about a salty umami flavor in the back palate. If you’re a hard-core Manhattan drinker who’s looking for a day-friendly version, look no further."

9. Tranquilizer at 1886

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1250 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 441-3136
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This tiki-like drink at far-flung (and worth the journey) 1886 in Pasadena starts with crushed ice, then overproof rum, Batavia Arrack, coconut, and a pineapple slice. Writes Caroline on this summery drink, "Tranquilizer tastes like Hawaii, so sweet and coconutty. Warning: It’s a potent potable but goes down too easily. I love it so."{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

10. Vesper at The Varnish Bar

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118 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 622-9999
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Like many drinks here, the Vesper is just one of many that can be had the right way. When Caroline is here, she knows that any classic drink will be a good one. One time she asked for a Vesper at a Beverly Hills bar, which specializes in vodka, and they had to look it up and made it with St. Germain. That doesn't happen at The Varnish.

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1. Negroni at Comme Ça

8479 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069

This bar program was put together by Sam Ross and as one of his favorite drinks, they continue to make this very well.{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

8479 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069

2. Margarita at Petty Cash Taqueria

7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Put together by barman Julian Cox, this simple and effective drink is great because Petty Cash is a go-to restaurant nearby Caroline's house. And sometimes, she just wants to have a sure thing without thinking. Be sure to ask for "the good shit" mezcal.

7360 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

3. White Russian at 320 Main

320 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740

When Caroline started drinking, oh, a few many years ago, her cocktail of choice was the White Russian. And the version made at this Seal Beach is the best she's had, made with gin by bartender Jason Schiffer. It's the perfect balance between sweet, coffee, and creamy. Also called the Male Order Bride at 320 Main.

320 Main St
Seal Beach, CA 90740

4. Nightshift at The Tasting Kitchen

1633 Abbot Kinney Rd, Venice, CA 90291

Originally at sister restaurant (now closed) The Parish, this bourbon cocktail is made with Czech fernet, espresso, pu-erh tea, chocolate syrup, and milk is a "perfect nightcap," according to Caroline. Moreover, it made her "want to guzzle it greedily but its depth of flavors compelled [her] to sip and savor." {Photo: Caroline on Crack]

1633 Abbot Kinney Rd
Venice, CA 90291

5. Last Tango at Modena by Matthew Biancaniello

The Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, CA 90028

One of the most universally beloved drinks by farmers market barman Matthew Biancaniello, the Last Tango at Modena was once a popular order at the mixologist's stand inside the Hollywood Roosevelt's Library Bar. Made with muddled strawberries, Hendricks gin, and aged balsamic vinegar, then topped with St. Germain foam for an addictive, sweet, tangy drink, it turns one of her favorite desserts into a cocktail. Though Biancaniello no longer mixes here, (future bar location t.b.a) this was where Caroline first fell in love with the barman's unique style of making drinks.{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

The Roosevelt Hotel
Los Angeles, CA 90028

6. Hoodlum at The Corner Door

12477 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

This new cocktail by Beau du Bois uses Armagnac, a syrup made from pumpkin beer, and peated clove tixture that, "evokes memories of enjoying a pumpkin pie by the fireplace," says Caroline. Going on, she writes, "Forget Pumpkin Spice Lattes, give me one of these! Potent, rich and downright delicious."{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

12477 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066

7. Battery Park at Goldie's

8422 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

This cross between two classics, the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned at this Mid-City restaurant is bartender Brittini Rae's personal favorite on the menu. The ice sphere is made with Peychaud's bitters and doesn't get watered down after being made with 100 proof rye, Punt e Mes, maple, and peach bitters.{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

8422 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048

8. Song of Solomon at Eveleigh

8752 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

This new drink on Eveleigh's menu by barman Dave Kupchinsky took two months of about $1,000 of material to perfect the recipe, which uses Willet 4-year 110 proof rye, vermouth de chambery, maraschino, cynar, and locally-made Miracle Mile celery bitters. Says Caroline, "And wouldn’t you know it, it was perfection with the celery complementing the Cynar and bringing about a salty umami flavor in the back palate. If you’re a hard-core Manhattan drinker who’s looking for a day-friendly version, look no further."

8752 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

9. Tranquilizer at 1886

1250 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

This tiki-like drink at far-flung (and worth the journey) 1886 in Pasadena starts with crushed ice, then overproof rum, Batavia Arrack, coconut, and a pineapple slice. Writes Caroline on this summery drink, "Tranquilizer tastes like Hawaii, so sweet and coconutty. Warning: It’s a potent potable but goes down too easily. I love it so."{Photo: Caroline on Crack]

1250 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105

10. Vesper at The Varnish Bar

118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Like many drinks here, the Vesper is just one of many that can be had the right way. When Caroline is here, she knows that any classic drink will be a good one. One time she asked for a Vesper at a Beverly Hills bar, which specializes in vodka, and they had to look it up and made it with St. Germain. That doesn't happen at The Varnish.

118 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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