Los Angeles has played host to cockeyed dreams of fame for generations and maybe the city’s illustrious cocktail culture has something to with that. Truly the home to Tiki drinks–sorry San Francisco–the home of the silver screen is squarely in the conversation when it comes to the world’s most influential drinking cities. Add in other bar menu classics like the Moscow Mule and the Harvey Wallbanger, and you’ll see why the City of Angels continues to shape the drinking world.
From Bukowski to Fitzgerald to Howard Hughes, Los Angeles’ drinking culture is blended with the stars, here are the iconic cocktails that continue to make La-La Land one of the centers of the bar world:
- 4 oz Ginger beer
- 1 1/2 oz Vodka
- 1/6 oz Lime juice
- Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice. Add lime juice. Stir gently and garnish with a lime slice.
- Served: On the rocks; poured over ice.
- Drinkware: Copper mug or highball glass
- Standard garnish: Lime slice
- 1/2 oz. white rum
- 1 1/2 oz. golden rum
- 1 oz. dark rum
- 1/2 oz. 151-proof rum
- 1 oz. lime juice
- 1 tsp. pineapple juice
- 1 tsp. papaya juice
- 1 tsp. superfine sugar
Stir together all the ingredients except the 151. Pour the mixture into a 14-ounce glass three-fourths full of cracked ice. Float the 151 as a lid by pouring it into a spoon and gently dipping it under the surface of the drink.* Garnish with mint (either straight or dipped in lime juice and then superfine sugar) and/or fruit.
Brown Derby Cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz Bourbon
- 1 oz Fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz Honey syrup*
- Garnish: Grapefruit twist
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Fine-strain into a cocktail glass. Express the oil from a grapefruit twist and drop in to garnish (or garnish with a grapefruit wedge).
*Honey syrup: Add 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan over medium heat. (You can experiment and decide how much of a honey flavor you want in your syrup. The more honey you use, the thicker the syrup and stronger in flavor it will be.) Stir until blended. Strain into a jar and seal tightly with a lid. Will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator.
Flame of Love
- 2 oz. vodka
- ¼ oz. fino sherry
- Tools: barspoon, strainer, matches or lighter
- Glass: cocktail
- Garnish: several large strips of orange peel
Rinse a chilled glass with sherry and discard excess. While squeezing a large strip of orange peel over the sherry-rinsed glass, use a match to carefully flame the oils spraying into the glass; repeat several times with additional peels. Stir the vodka with ice until chilled, then strain into the prepared glass. Flame a final orange peel over the finished drink; garnish.
- 1½ oz. vodka
- 4 oz. fresh orange juice
- ½ oz. Galliano
- Glass: Collins
- Tools: barspoon
- Garnish: orange slice
Combine vodka and orange juice in an ice-filled glass and stir to combine. Pour the Galliano over the back of a barspoon so that the liqueur floats atop the drink. Garnish.
- 2 oz. Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Sweet & Sour Mix
- 1 oz. Orange Juice
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Splash of Grenadine
- Garnish: Orange Slice and Cherry
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.
- 1 1/2 oz. tequila
- 3 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tsp. grenadine
Shake tequila and orange juice well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add grenadine and stir gently, for no longer than is necessary to produce layers of oranges and reds. Garnish with a maraschino cherry (optional).
- 1oz 30ml Campari
- 1oz 30ml Gin Mulholland Gin
- 1oz 30ml Amaro Montenegro
- 1 Bar Spoon Coffee Liqueur Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur
- Garnish: Orange Twist
Add ingredients to glass. Add large cube of Ice. Stir until chilled. Garnish with Orange Twist
The Braveheart by Justin Pike (The Tasting Kitchen)
- 2 ounces blended scotch (the Tasting Kitchen currently uses Ballantine’s)
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce ginger juice
- 1/4 ounce honey syrup (1 part hot water, 3 parts honey)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake gently with one large ice cube. Strain into an old-fashioned glass with one large ice cube.