What You’re Drinking – Best Fall & Winter Cocktails

What You’re Drinking – Best Fall & Winter Cocktails
(credit: Frank Ishman

(credit: Frank Ishman

In Los Angeles, the signal of fall doesn’t appear in the foliage. Instead, they show up in the glasses of bars all throughout LA. To help get you in the spirit of the changing seasons, we’ve put together a list of the best places that beckon you to come out and drink. Here are the best Fall and Winter cocktails in LA and where to get them.

(credit: Cana Rum Bar)

(credit: Cana Rum Bar)

Pumpkin Colada
Caña Rum Bar
714 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-7090
www.canarumbar.com

This Downtown LA members-only libation station reads like an encyclopedia to LA’s private premium rum bar that features over 140 small-batch rums. Allan Katz of Caña Rum Bar has always been adamant that every drink has a story, and you’ll find one worth telling within the compendium that awaits you at the bar. For a special drink of the season, get your chilly paws on the ever so-seasonal Pumpkin Colada. Made with Knob Creek Rye, many strong rums, spiced pumpkin butter, organic pumpkin, and their heavenly house coconut cream, it’s a cult favorite brilliantly executed by a determined Katz. Katz, who set out to prove that it wasn’t difficult to make something with real pumpkin that was great in its own right certainly delivers. And since real pumpkin is used in the making of this intoxicating creation, you better get it while it lasts.

(credit: Bestia)

(credit: Bestia)

The Flip
Bestia
2121 E 7th Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 514-5724
www.bestiala.com

You’ll flip over The Flip cocktail at Bestia, a downtown Italian eatery that will convert you into a pro-carb enthusiast for life. Made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, G.D. Vajra Barolo Chinato, simple syrup, and heavy cream, it’s whipped and shaken long and hard before it is strained into a sour glass. Fresh nutmeg is grated on top for the finish. “It’s a beautifully balanced cocktail with a touch of bitterness,” says Bar Manager Kristina Howald, who feels the perfect drink for fall as something that reminds you of home. One thing’s for sure, this cozy cocktail is sure to warm you up on chilly nights.

(credit: Mercado)

(credit: Mercado)

El Jengibre
Mercado Hollywood
3413 Cahuenga Blvd W
Los Angeles, CA 90068
(323) 512-2500
www.mercadorestaurant.com

Mercado Hollywood is the newest installation from Jesse Gomez and chef Jose Acevedo. Here, you can expect the same traditional Mexican fare with a contemporary twist that you’ve come to love. It’s a welcome addition to the Cahuenga corridor, and the barkeeps intends to keeps things spicy for you this season. Comprised of ginger and cinnamon syrup, mezcal, lime juice, and a soda water float El Jengibre is appropriately named (it means ginger in Spanish). In addition to being tasty, this cocktail plays nicely with the cuisine, with nostalgic and familiar aromatics like ginger and cinnamon accenting this spicy little number.

(credit: Luke Gibson/wutzwhat)

(credit: Luke Gibson/wutzwhat)

Barrio Sour
Harlowe
7321 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 876-5839
www.harlowela.com

Dipsomaniacs love to come here to get immersed in the warm glow of Hollywood’s golden age as they enjoy a few well-crafted drinks. Delivered here is the Barrio Sour, made with Tequila Cabeza, El Silencio Black mezcal, fresh lemon juice, Demerara syrup, egg white, and a spiced Cabernet float. “I wanted to create a riff on the New York sour for LA,” says Head Barman Chris Amirault. “The name Barrio is Spanish for neighborhood and since LA has a lot of Hispanic roots it only made sense to sub out the whiskey for tequila and mezcal. Instead of floating port, I spiced a Napa Cabernet with cloves, cinnamon, and fresh strawberries. It gives the cocktail some fruit and spice to complement the smoke and body from the mezcal and egg white.” Amirault thinks fall is about apples, pears, and aromatic baking spices, so you’ll see these elements in his seasonal selections. Think warming, spirit driven cocktails as well as refreshing cocktails that are reminiscent of summer past. Fancy something fancy? There’s a homemade sherry eggnog with your name on it.

(credit: Gia St. George)

(credit: Gia St. George)

The Last Laugh
Ebanos Crossing
200 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 935-8829
www.ebanoscrossing.com

Says Head Bartender Gia St. George, “I love fall cocktails, it’s the best time of the year to be incredibly creative and have fun with it.” Our thoughts exactly, so where there is good times, chuckles are sure to follow. The Last Laugh is made with black tea infused Templeton Rye, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, lemon, mint, and plum shrub. St. George chose to emphasize the use of plum this year too. It’s the underdog of ingredients on most cocktail menus, and she loves how it stands up to both mild and bold flavors in a cocktail. Holiday spices, seasoned fruits, and of course, chocolate, can be found in a few of the other wistful cocktails on offer here.

(credit: Dino Balocchi)

(credit: Dino Balocchi)

When A Fire Starts To Burn
Littlefork
1600 Wilcox Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 465-3675
www.littleforkla.com

Littlefork continues to stand as one of our favorite local eateries with a fine selection of libations in the bosom of Hollywood. With the help of head barman Dino Balocchi, they’re sure to set your heart ablaze to a five-alarm level. When A Fire Starts To Burn is concocted with housemade fireball bourbon, Meletti Anisette, lemon, chai spice, and smoked cinnamon. “Today’s Jägermeister is Fireball Whiskey,” says Balocchi, “it’s a trendy shooter outside the craft cocktail world but it’s obnoxiously sweet to my palate, however, it’s not a bad idea in the general sense. I wanted to take a stab at making our own fireball and incorporate in into our fall cocktail menu. The aromatics of this drink remind me of my grandma’s house when she was cooking butternut squash at Thanksgiving.” Not a fan of alcohol? Ask for the crowd favorite Littlefork Homemade Cider, sans booze. It’s hot buttered house-spiced apple cider and star anise goodness that is sure to warm your soul.

(credit: Steven Soderbergh)

(credit: Steven Soderbergh)

The Smoke Show
The Argyle
1600 N Argyle Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 461-1600
www.argylehollywood.com

When the mood for a seductive cocktail den strikes, The Argyle Hollywood awaits. Take the side entrance of the building to find a place reserved for the sexy people and cozy up in one of their leather couches. Once you’ve settled in, let Chris Hewes, beverage director of extraordinary gentlemen (and women), present you with The Smoke Show. A complex composition of Singani63 Bolivian Brandy, China China Amer, chocolate Aztec bitters, and walnut bitters, Hewes then uses a smoking gun with cherry and mesquite wood to give the cocktail a smooth and smoky finish, garnished with a lemon peel. This stirred tipple is reminiscent of a Manhattan with a late season edge. Says Hewes, “It is soothing and sophisticated with qualities I feel anyone can enjoy.”

(credit: Frank Ishman)

(credit: Frank Ishman)

Moulin Rouge
Pour Vous
5574 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 871-8699
www.pourvousla.com

For Angelenos, Pour Vous is the next best thing to a getaway in Paris with its unassuming exterior unfolding into a magical place where glittery bird caged performers fall like confetti from the heavens. Bar Manager Francois Vera offers an array of Parisian-style adult beverages to satisfy the most discerning of Francophiles. For the best combination, find a spot near the fireplace and order a Moulin Rouge which is a sparkling cocktail made with Grey Goose vodka, Aperol, Peychaud’s bitters, orgeat, lemon juice, lime juice, fresh strawberry purée, and champagne. To finish, a strawberry kiss and champagne bubbles top it off. Just like the entertainment overhead, this cocktail was designed for seduction.

(credit: The Church Key)

(credit: The Church Key)

Sir Newton
The Church Key
8730 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(424) 249-3700
www.thechurchkeyla.com

The Sunset Boulevard star known as The Church Key is fast approaching their one-year anniversary, providing you with the perfect excuse to raise a glass in celebration. A civilized cocktail with brandy, fig, mint, agave, lemon juice, and bitters, the Sir Newton is the drink to order. Says mixologist extraordinaire Devon Espinosa, “with figs in season I wanted to utilize the fruit to create a cocktail that was easy on the eyes and the palate. The brandy, Angostura bitters, and agave give the drink fall-like qualities that are lightened up with fresh mint and lemon juice. It’s winter without the heavy coat.” There couldn’t be a more appropriate drink for LA’s version of a changing season.

(credit: Jessica Schupack)

(credit: Jessica Schupack)

Asian Pear Cocktail
Commissary (The Line Hotel)
3515 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 368-3030
www.eatatpot.com

As would be expected from a drink served at Roy Choi’s Commissary, this season’s drinks are full of playful whimsy. The Asian Pear Cocktail has a decidedly Asiatic vibe, created with Asian pear, dill, mochi, lime, ginger, and gin, served in the plastic cups one might see in the kitchen. If you use your imagination, this drink transforms into a fragrant, herbaceous garden, owned by Hello Kitty herself.

(credit: Warwick)

(credit: Warwick)

Black Dahlia
Warwick
6507 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 460-6667
www.warwickla.com

Warwick is the Madonna of nightlife, constantly reinventing itself and successfully keeping the cool kids on their toes. This season, it’s all about film noir, setting the tone to all things sexy and mysterious, just like a vintage film. The fall menu by Jason Bran and Damian Windsor follows suit. “It’s our goal to serve elevated drinks in seconds rather than minutes, catering to the appreciation of craft cocktails while also delivering gracious and quick service,” says Bran. Get into character with the Black Dahlia, made with Blackwell Rum, housemade blackberry, puree, black sesame orgeat, pineapple, and lemon. It’s sure to put a Glasgow smile on your face.

(credit: Frank Ishman)

(credit: Frank Ishman)

Reagle Beagle
Good Times at Davey Wayne’s
1611 N El Centro Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 962-3804
www.goodtimesatdaveywaynes.com

When you can enter through a refrigerator door and walk into a nostalgic pad from the 70’s, you know you’re in Hollywood, and the Houston Brothers have everything to do with it. Boogie with roller skate babes and order a Reagle Beagle to let them know that three’s company, and four’s a crowd. It’s made with Plantation 5-Year Barbados, salted pistachio syrup, fresh lime juice, Alvear’s Amontillado Sherry, and egg white. Created by Beverage Director Joe Swifka, this drink with rich and comforting flavors designed to warm you up during chilly nights on the Astroturf.

(credit: Faith & Flower)

(credit: Faith & Flower)

Roxie & Cameo
Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 239-0642
www.faithandflowerla.com

Hot off the heels as an honoree of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants, Faith & Flower is a force to be reckoned with, and you’ll want to get over here to see what the fuss is all about. “Chief of Booze” Mike Lay includes an all-season selection on his fall cocktail menu, and it’s called the Roxie & Cameo, made with Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Nardini Acqua di Cedro, St Germain, lemon, and egg white. With a swaggered shake of the ingredients with ice, they are then fine strained into a chilled coupe and finished with a few drops of Peychaud’s bitters. Says Lay, “I don’t necessarily consider it a fall cocktail, rather a light and refreshing cocktail. It has quite a bit of depth to it due to the different ingredients and goes down quick!” All that we know is, when something is this delicious, there’s nothing wrong with a little danger.

Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Check out what else she recommends around Los Angeles in the links below.

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