This week's cover story is the cocktail issue, or L.A.'s Best Cocktails, in which Jonathan Gold considers, as you can probably infer from the title, the best cocktails in Los Angeles. To celebrate the happy event, we're giving you a cocktail a day here on Squid Ink. Yesterday's drink was Border Grill's Tequila with Sangrita; today's is the Donaji from Rivera's Julian Cox. Here's what Gold has to say about the drink (below), and if you turn the page, we've gotten the recipe so you can make it at home. Who says you have to read your morning paper with a cup of coffee. Cheers.


Julian Cox, who seems to pop up wherever there are cocktails to be made, is creative perhaps to a fault. His most popular drinks at Rivera, John Sedlar's sleek Latin restaurant near Staples Center, are probably a chile-infused rye cocktail called Blood Sugar Sex Magic (I can never quite bring myself to order it) and a chipotle-muddled tequila thing garnished with a slab of beef jerky and served in a glass rimmed with powdered maguey worms. Yet the Donaji, which sings with citrus, is sweetened with agave, carries maximum mezcal funkiness and is served in a glass dipped into grasshopper cricket salt, turns out to come from a traditional Oaxacan formula, designed to make the best of mezcals that don't happen to cost $90 a bottle. It's a thing. And it's also disarmingly good. You may find yourself idly considering the culinary possibilities of the green things hopping across your lawn.

The Donaji

From: Rivera's Julian Cox

Note: Chapulínas are grasshoppers, and are sold at Oaxacan markets. For the salt, crush dehydrated grasshoppers in a mortar and pestle with fleur de sel.

Makes: 1 drink

2 ounces Del Maguey San Luis del Rio mezcal

⅜ ounce lime juice

⅜ ounce lemon juice

1 ounce orange juice

¾ ounce agave nectar

Lime wheels

Pomegranate seeds

Lemon leaf

Chapulín salt

1. Combine all ingredients. Shake and pour into chapulin-salt-rimmed cocktail glass.

2. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds, lime wheels and lemon leaf.

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