5 Sweet Cocktails with a Kick
It may be September, but this past weekend in L.A. had us facing scorching 100+ degree weather — and it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon. Since it's no secret that the best way to take advantage of a hot day is with an ice cold drink in hand, we're making it extra easy for you with a list of refreshing cocktails from various L.A. bars, only each take their cue from this summer's trend of libations with a sweet and spicy side. This style, a welcome reprieve from your average saccharine cocktail (and even from those that are so spicy it's more a grand feat than enjoyable to finish them) allows for endless experimentation. One mixologist does it by mixing a fruity element, like muddled strawberries, with a spicy ingredient through sliced jalapeños. Another balances mango puree with a chile powder rim. All of them use the power of contrasting bold flavors to play off each other for a refreshing drink whose unexpected kick will make it hard to stop sipping. Fighting fire with fire never seemed so tempting.
1. Soleto's signature cocktail When in Rome (top photo) would most likely be shunned by traditional Italians, but the long glass concoction, made with Grey Goose Citron, fresh raspberries, blackberries and lemon, and the kicker, sliced jalapeños, hits the spot.
801 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA, 90017.
2. Public Kitchen & Bar's Spiced Cucumber Collins (pictured right) takes a classic drink and makes it special using Hendrick’s Gin, fresh lime, mint, and kicks it up a notch with Shishito peppers. The drink is garnished with cucumber slices — kind of like the water you drink at a spa, but better.
7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA, 90028.
3. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but Ortega 120 is worth visiting for their array of famous margaritas alone. The Espicy Mango Margarita’ uses Milagro silver, mango puree, and co-owner Demi Steven's 120 citrus sour, a house made mixer. It’s garnished with a dried chile powder rim and if that's not enough it's also served with a chile powder coated Chupa Chup lollipop.
1814 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, CA, 90277.
4. At West Hollywood's staple martini bar, Lola’s, bar manager JJ Graham just created a Spicy Tamarind Martini (pictured above). The drink itself has no spiciness: it contains tamarind juice, silver tequila, and fresh lime juice. It's all in the rim, 85% sugar and 15% chile powder. His inspiration? “I grew up in the San Fernando Valley where Mexican liquor stores sold spicy sweet candies.”
945 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood, CA, 90046.
5. Retro lounge Ray’s & Stark Bar does it a little differently with the Owl and Pussycat (pictured above). It's made with rum, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup with muddled strawberries, and garnished with a green chile pepper.
LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90036.