The Rose Cafe's Algonquin Cocktail Presents Pineapple in Its Best Light
The bar area at the Rose Cafe
There's a lot of pineapple going around in the bars of Los Angeles, for a couple of good reasons: Because it's spring (almost summer), and because the city loves tiki. At the Rose Cafe in Venice, the bar makes great use of pineapple, but for neither of those reasons. Its Algonquin cocktail has been on the menu throughout the seasons, and it's not a tiki drink. Rather, it's a more straightforward classic, named for a hotel and its famous literary roundtable (although no cocktail drinking is thought to have happened at that hotel at that time, thanks to Prohibition and the hotel's puritanical owner Frank Case).
The Algonquin cocktail is usually made with rye whiskey, vermouth and pineapple juice, and the Rose's version doesn't stray far from the classic recipe — just enough to make the drink more dynamic. Rather than pineapple juice, the bartenders at the Rose use caramelized pineapple and pineapple shrub (a drinking vinegar made from pineapple), meaning it's less cloying, more dynamic and better suited to the spiciness of the rye.
The drink itself is damn delicious — a perfect mix of tropical and grown-up — but the garnish is perhaps the most fun part of the experience: a pineapple slice, dehydrated into a frill that sinks into the drink and is a thin, chewy delight.
The Rose is so many things — a bakery, a coffee shop, a large and ambitious restaurant. But it's also a lovely bar, complete with bartenders with bespoke facial hair. It's full of hanging plants and is incredibly chill on most nights of the week. There are a ton of good drinks to be had here, but the Algonquin is the one that will call me back for its perfect blend of classicism-meets-modernism creativity.