Best Thing We Ate

10 Best Things We Drank Around LA in 2013

By Lesley Balla  |  December 27, 2013
Credit: Lesley Balla

Just as we ate some amazing dishes this year, we sipped a lot of fantastic cocktails, brews, coffee and more. Here's a look back at our 10 favorite things we drank around LA in 2013.

  • Zombie at Acabár

    It's easy to get swept away by the beauty of the Moroccan-inspired restaurant that took over the former Dar Magreb space this past summer. But now that there's a bar to sidle up to, Julian Cox and Josh Goldman have put together a fantastic cocktail program with classics from the late 1700s and early 1800s, plus modern-day drinks. One of the best: they put their version of the tiki classic Zombie on tap, and it comes topped with a flaming lime. Careful, though: four rums go into this thing, so you're only allowed two per person due to potency. You'll want more than one due to the deliciousness.

  • Granita at Caffe Vita

    We do love a good iced coffee, but the frozen espresso topped with slightly sweet whipped cream at the Silver Lake cafe is like dessert that morphs into a delicious iced coffee as it melts. It's the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. 

  • Catalina Eddy at Connie & Ted's

    The drinks might not be as East Coast in origin as the food at the West Hollywood seafood house, but they all somehow conjure up seaside days and nights or time on the water. The Catalina Eddy, a blend of rums, house-made banana cordial, honey and lime, is the perfect example. We could just shut our eyes and dream we were on a boat heading over to the island for a weekend getaway, not sitting on a bustling restaurant patio in West Hollywood. Unless we were sitting in one of the rockers near the lounge; that would do.

  • Tiki Drinks at Bahooka

    We had to have one final tiki drink for the road before the 46-year-old mecca of kitsch closed in Rosemead. Flame-topped Scorpion Bowls and other concoctions were sipped, and even if they all tasted the same - we're convinced that no matter what was ordered, it was poured from the same pitcher labeled "juice and booze" - they were nostalgically delicious.

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    Palomas at Big Bar at Alcove

    Who said you have to drink margaritas only for Cinco de Mayo, or the week leading up to it, for that matter? The Paloma, usually made with tequila and some sort of grapefruit soda like Fresca or Squirt, is a much more refreshing quaff in our opinion, and they were everywhere this past year. Bar manager Dan Long made some tasty ones at Alcove's Big Bar in Los Feliz earlier this year. Instead of using grapefruit soda, he mixed tequila with Stiegl's Radler, a light grapefruit-flavored beer, which gave it an extra dollop of savory booziness.

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    A Final Irish Coffee at Tom Bergin's

    While we appreciate the cocktails being concocted across the city, with all of their infused spirits and barman-made bitters, sometimes a classic is in order. Enter the Tom Bergin's Irish coffee. It's a simple thing of beauty - Bushmills, coffee, a bit of sugar and slightly whipped cream on top - that makes a late afternoon a bit sunnier. We slipped in for one final taste the day Tom Bergin's unexpectedly closed thinking it would never be available again. Good news, though: new owners are working furiously to open sometime in January.

  • The Personal Day at The Corner Door

    Barman Beau du Bois is constantly fiddling with the drinks menu, changing things according to his own taste, new ingredients and the seasons. He had two new menus for the fall, one for Indian Summer and one for cooler temps that lead to winter. The Personal Day, a concoction made with black rum, fresh pineapple, lime, tamarind syrup and mole bitters, was for the former, a refreshing drink that felt autumnal (but we wouldn't kick it out of summer, either).

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    Sunset and Vine at Crossroads

    We were surprised as anyone that a devout carnivore would have a great meal at the haute vegan restaurant, but it's true. Even the vegan cheese was tolerable. But the cocktails are also pretty wonderful, especially this one with tequila, blood orange and beet juices. We felt healthy and buzzed all at the same time.

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    The Harlequin at The Church Key

    While we love the novelty of canned Negronis, which you open tableside with a church key, and sucking on icy apple martini otter pops that are served from roaming carts, the cocktails from Devon Espinosa and his team at the new West Hollywood spot are super good. The Harlequin is one sexy drink with Bonal, a French aperitif, raspberry gomme syrup and lime.

  • Credit: Honeycut

    Snap Judgment at Honeycut

    The menus at the new underground Downtown bar (and disco!!) are as much fun to read as finding the place is (it's behind and below the O Hotel). Organized in categories like Deep Thoughts, Pick Me Ups and Group Format, these aren't your usual concoctions. You'll find The Snap Judgment under the Left of Center heading because its banana-infused gin threw the bartenders for a loop. But it's quite good with Armagnac, Rainwater Madeira and star anise.