With most of the city's top bartenders attending Tales of the Cocktail, this may be the worst weekend in Los Angeles to get a top-quality cocktail. So when they all get back, get thee to Eveleigh, which has, improbably, become a destination for great cocktails and good food amid one of the tackiest, most touristy stretches of the Sunset Strip.
They make their own tonic and a pretty solid burger at Eveleigh, but tonight we come for the Pisco. The Peruvian (and Chilean) grape brandy is in vogue these days, and not just at Peruvian haunts like Picca, where bartender Julian Cox has stuffed the cocktail menu with it.
At Eveleigh, it's part of a very sturdy cocktail known as the Pisco Punch. "Punch" is a dangerous word, an excuse for bartenders and frat boys alike to load hapless liquors with unnecessary and unworthy accoutrements: sugars, liqueurs, not-so-simple syrups. Fortunately, not at Eveleigh.
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Pisco is the base of this drink, but the combination of fresh pineapple and pineapple syrup (housemade, natch) gives it a summery feel, while lemon and lime ratchet back its tropicalia. What gives it a real kick is the way the vanilla and the black pepper play together, like best friends who enjoy a good argument. A little more favoritism to one or the other, and it would be hot, spiced mess or a cloying, baker's mistake. Instead, the Pisco Punch is the perfect summer drink, so good it's worth carrying into autumn.