Letter from the Editor: L.A.'s Cocktail Take Over Vol: 111

May 2014

Craft cocktail bars are the new theatre in the City of Angeles, and we’re not talking self-serious costume dramas—we’re talking dance-your-ass-off kinda fun. Cocktail culture is coming of age in L.A., and its bartenders are defining it for the fickle, fast-paced, entertainment driven city. We went along for the ride.

Disco shots are the fuel for burning the midnight oil at Honeycut. This craft cocktail venue has a split personality, but it’s not a disorder—it’s a night-life paradise. Half cocktail lounge-half discotheque, Honeycut is the brainchild of Proprietors LLC, a mixology think-tank helmed by Alex Day and David Kaplan, founders of New York cocktail temple Death & Co. At the disco bar, two draught lines are designated for shots. They’re not highfalutin, but they’re fun, efficient, and practical for the business model and clientele.

In Beverly Hills, Jordan Kahn’s Red Medicine is open late and Adam Nystrom is behind the bar. He’s drawing in L.A. drinkers through interaction, entertainment, and intriguing serving styles. Nystrom’s drinks come in mason jars that guests shake themselves, unscrew, and sip. He fills high ball glasses with ice and garnishes that arrive alongside a bottled cocktail that’s popped and poured by the guest.

L.A. bartenders aren’t just riffing on the classics, they’re riffing on riffs. The Eveleigh’s Kiowa Bryan mixes a cocktail called A Little Mexico, which she crafted in homage to Audrey Saunder’s Little Italy. And Bryan is also part of another prominent L.A. cocktail trend: the rise and influence of the female mixologist. Devon Tarby of Honeycut and Brittini Rae Peterson of Goldies are also examples of this sisterly surge—a charge lead by veteran Naomi Schimek of The Spare Room.

Bartenders aren’t the only beverage professionals in L.A. taking center stage. Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski of G&B Coffee and Go Get ‘Em Tiger are part of the Third Wave of coffee crashing over the city. They’ve adopted a sommelier’s approach to moving product and educating consumers—all in the hopes of getting their customers their perfect cup. We’ll drink to that! 

Antoinette Bruno