Outdoor drinking is about to start up in earnest again in L.A., but it's not exactly hot out yet. So you want a cocktail that's refreshing but has a little heft to it.
The new Highgarden Collins at Big Bar in Los Feliz is pretty perfect for spring. And, of course, you can take it out on that patio, so notoriously filled with sexy people having a good time.
Big Bar has a pretty fun cocktail menu that switches seasonally, but the drinks always have a ton of ingredients and there's a tiki inspiration in many of them, something I always appreciate.
But I also appreciate a good Collins, a bubbly, gin-based drink of British origin. (Maybe I just like cocktails that make me think of sailors.)
The Highgarden Collins uses specific spirits, including Hendricks gin, Chareau aloe liqueur and Liquid Alchemist raspberry syrup. That sounds like a relatively sweet mixture, but the cucumber-forward Hendricks keeps it light. To that mix is added raspberries and lemon to tart it up, rose water, and “bubbles” — which I believe here means club soda. It's a nice slow sipper, something to ease you into the hotter days of summer, when you'll just want a regular Collins.
(NB: Traditionally, the difference between a Collins, a John Collins and a Tom Collins came down to types of gin — Genever, London Dry or the relatively sweet Tom. But you've probably noticed that many bartenders here use vodka instead of any kind of gin, so be sure to specify if you want the latter.)
1927 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 644-0100, alcovecafe.com/bigbar.