Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No. 212: A few favorite winter cocktails around town

Now that the cold weather is really upon us (OK, comparatively speaking), what better occasion to warm yourself up with a wintery cocktail? Rather in the form of actually high temperature toddies or teas, or just warming from the spices and aromas, here are a few of my faves from the recent weeks:
Holiday Champagne Cocktail @ Cole's

Holiday Champagne Cocktail @ Cole's - this aromatic sparkler, which to me is the lovechild of a standard Champagne cocktail and a French 75, combined Mumm's Brut with Hendrick's gin, mulled spices syrup, Angostura and a pinch of ground cinnamon. I love how the warm, sweet spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are amplified by the fizzy bubbles and that the gin gave it an extra oompf (that we ALL need in Winter) plus a floral bouquet subtly reminding me that Spring's not that far away.
Western all'Italiana @ Drago Centro
Western all'Italiana @ Drago Centro - more than just a fun wordplay on Spaghetti Westerns, this cocktail contains both American and Italian flavors--a spicy High West Double Rye is mixed with Cointreau, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, cranberry+oregano infused molasses & finished with Honeycrisp apples, resulting in a well-rounded cocktail that's edgy with familiar flavors, fruity without being too sweet and deceptively potent. Just ask Connie, Jenny or Andy!
7th St Toddy @ Seven Grand
7th Street Toddy @ Seven Grand - A fun South-of-the-border spin off the traditional Hot Toddy blending Glenfiddich 12 year with Mexican chocolate, Agave nectar and plenty of mint leaves -- all three of which added a delightful vibrancy to the cocktail, like a warmed-up Mint Julep kissed by your Abuelita. And still just as soothing for the throat...
Earl the Pearl @ The Roof on Wilshire
Earl the Pearl @ The Roof on Wilshire* - So simple yet so fun, this DIY drink features a shot of dark rum, a stick of cinnamon, a jar of honey and a pot of Earl Grey de la Creme tea -- all ready for your to mix to your liking. And it's a lovely, well-balanced combination -- the spicy rum is nicely tempered by the sweet, rich honey and both are rounded out by the tea (which complements the rum & honey just enough - the vanilla - without being too matchy-matchy - the bergamot.) As an added bonus, the pot contains more than enough tea for you to have a second cup on its own. And, as my drinking & dining companion Caroline on Crack can attest, this place's got an amazing space & some worthy noshes too!
Cranhattan @ Border Grill DTLA
Cranhattan @ Border Grill Downtown* - Definitely one to file under "don't judge a book by its cover;" despite its Cosmopolitan-esque apperance, it is considerably more mature and regal with a flavor profile that's surprisingly close to a real Manhattan, thanks to the Herradura Añejo that's oaked over two years, a cranberry & orange pureé utilizing the fruits' skins and zest to add a balancing bitterness, a cranberry-brandy liqueur for depth & richness and of course, a skewer of brandied cranberries that's infinitely better than the neon red stuff. Alas, this drink recently rotated out of their menu, but here's the recipe for you to recreate at home--it's worth the effort especially for a gathering! Update: Just heard from Border Grill that they can still make this for a few more weeks - yippee! So get it while it's still around.

*Disclaimer: I sampled the Cranhattan at a hosted tasting, and the Earl the Pearl wound up being comp'd due to a mishap; the others, however, I've tried on my own dime.

118 East 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA

525 S Flower St #120
Los Angeles, CA

515 W 7th Street, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA

6317 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

445 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA



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