Spring has sprung: April showers bring May ... cocktails
In the spring, some urbanites seek out wildflowers, and others, cocktails. Luckily, the latter are coming up like poppies. Here are a few:
Cana Rum Bar: Bar manager Allan Katz has rolled out a spring menu with drinks categorized under "daggers, pistols and cannons." A "diabolically tasty" Pimm's Cup "remix" called the Bad Passenger has Beefeater, Amaro Lucano, fresh citrus, strawberries and bitter lemon soda. The Tennessee Isle is described as "what a Sazerac would taste like if the wicked witch of the West overtook Kansas and sent Tennessee to the Caribbean via flying monkey." It's Prichard's rum, overripe-mango-infused absinthe, coconut and Peychaud's. Don't forget the punch.
714 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; (213) 745-7090; www.canarumbar.com.
Red O: Mixologist Steve Calabro is putting the finishing touches on his spring menu at Melrose-meets-Mexican restaurant Red O. If you can get past the guy at the door, you might find an Oro Blanco Margarita: silver tequila, Torres orange liqueur, white grapefruit juice, limonada, gingercello and Aperol, garnished with candied grapefruit rind. The Red O Lemonade (Koval white rye, Veev acai berry liqueur, fresh lemon juice, lemongrass syrup, topped with soda water) has a red sanding-sugar rim, to look like a "red O."
8155 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 655-5009; www.redorestaurant.com.
1886: Marcos Tello, who along with Aidan Demarest creates the cocktail menus at the Raymond's 1886 bar in Pasadena, says the spring menu will be unveiled in the next few weeks. Tello says they're moving on from fat-washing (mixing fat or oil with a spirit, chilling or freezing it until the fat solidifies, then skimming and/or straining the fat) with peanuts to mixing with coffees and teas. Also, expect a barrel-aged version of a Caprice -- not the Chevy kind, the gin-vermouth-Benedictine kind.
1250 Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; (626) 441-3136.
Villains Tavern: The spring cocktail menu at the L.A. River-adjacent watering hole Villains Tavern is being finalized by mixologist Dave Whitton. But he's already got a couple of bourbon-and-fruit refreshers lined up. The Astarte: Elijah Craig bourbon, fresh lemon and orange juice, cucumbers and strawberries. The Geryon: Elijah Craig bourbon, kumquats and fresh grapefruit. More to come....
1356 Palmetto St., Los Angeles; (213) 613-0766; www.villainstavern.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Top photo: Poppies in the Antelope Valley. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times. Bottom photo: The Astarte cocktail at Villains Tavern. Credit: John Ales/courtesy of Villains Tavern.