With the weather heating up in Los Angeles, there’s no time like now to head to a restaurant or bar to taste the flavors of summer. You’ll find some tiki-inspired drinks as well as classic cocktails using spirits infused with tropical fruits. There are slushy drinks, but also an overarching trend of lower alcohol content so imbibers can continue on with the day. Refreshing flavors are central to giving a reprieve from the heat, whether summertime revelers are on the patio or enjoying the comforts of air conditioning.
You can order a variety of these summery takes at a bar near you. Read on for the what and where:
Belcampo Cup, Belcampo
Josh Goldman serves up this ultra-bright, easy-to-drink cocktail combining Lustau sweet vermouth and Moscatel sherry with ver jus, blueberries, lemon, ginger mint, cucumber and Mixwell dandelion tonic water. Poured over crushed ice and sipped from a mug, it's a perfect pairing for brunch.
Multiple locations; belcampo.com.
Pandas on the Boulevard, Big Bar
Bar manager Cari Hah takes the Boulevardier on a tropical spin by infusing Jack Daniels with toasted coconut and Luxardo bitters with pandan leaf. The result is a boozy, aromatic cocktail that somehow still goes down as easy as the summer sun thanks to its ultra-balanced composition.
1927 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 644-0100, alcovecafe.com/bigbar.
Frose might have already jumped the shark, so Chris Amirault has instead slushified the classic mojito. His "frojito" is equal parts Cana Brava rum, Plantation Pineapple rum and lime for a blended glass of paradise. Enjoy at the foot of the beautiful Broad Museum, with the Otium patio as your architecturally appointed paradise.
222 S. Hope St., downtown; (213) 935-8500, otiumla.com.
The Expat, the Ponte
We take everything back we said about low ABV, because Ryan Wainwright’s Italian-French twist on the piña colada is also boozed up. The Expat combines overproof Plantation O.F.T.D. rum and Lazzaroni Amaro with sherry, cold-pressed pineapple juice, coconut cream and lime. The copper pineapple cup further amps up the chill factor of sipping the drink through your metal cocktail straw.
8265 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove; (323) 746-5130, thepontela.com.
Around the Campfire, Michael’s
Meredith Hayman and her bar team hickory-smoke their bourbon for this cocktail. They add Carpano Antica vermouth and blackberry liqueur, as well as summer apricots and lemon from the Santa Monica Farmers Market, for a ripe, earthy midsummer treat.
1147 Third St., Santa Monica; (310) 451-0843, michaelssantamonica.com.
The OG Ice-T, E.P. & L.P.
This Thai tea is boozed up with white whiskey but also enhanced by other things tropical, such as guanabana and coconut milk. Amaro and tapiocas give it tang and tack, two things you’ll definitely need while sipping balls through a straw on a West Hollywood rooftop.
603 La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 855-9955, eplosangeles.com.
Casanova’s Cup, Rossoblu
It’s a good thing Rossoblu has such a huge patio seating area, because the grappa- and vodka-based Casanova’s Cup is the perfect cocktail on which to enjoy one. Brynn Smith adds lemon, blackberries and basil for this tasty sipper that’s also easy on the eyes.
1124 San Julian St., downtown; (213) 749-1099, rossoblula.com.
Aperol, yuzu, carrot, orange, vanilla, sake, Accomplice
This orange-colored, sake-based beauty packs a subtle punch thanks to drink maker Gaby Mlynarczyk’s gift for garden-based cocktails. Aperol, yuzu and vanilla add texture and depth to the orange and carrot juices in the cocktail. It’s like drinking the garden straight from the glass.
3811 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista; (310) 574-7610, accomplicebar.com.
Endless Summer, Good Housekeeping
Alex Barbatsis riffs on the Final Word cocktail, using apricot liqueur, honey and apricot with rye, yellow Chartreuse and lemon juice. It’s a great seasonal rendition of a full-bodied classic, perfect for enjoying while lounging in one of the dark booths at Good Housekeeping.
5635 Figueroa St., Highland Park; (323) 739-6928.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Rosé Sangria, the Bazaar
If your rosé needs a little dressing up, head on over to the Bazaar, where the team has created a special sangria. They add grapefruit, lemon, maraschino and cava for a little brightness and sweetness — and some fizz, to boot.
465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Grove; (310) 246-5555.