Where to Drink Spanish-Style "Gintonics" in LA
The first thing you should probably know about a Spanish gin and tonic is that there's really no "and." Simply called a gintonic, the Spaniards know how to amp up the herbal qualities of good gin, pick a clean-tasting tonic and create extra flourishes that make this very simple and traditional cocktail sing. While we could wax poetic on the cocktail itself (there's some great background here) and why it's ok that it takes as long as an afternoon siesta to make, we'd rather just tell you where to get one around LA and why. Here are three spots doing the refreshing Spanish cocktail some justice, all putting the simple g&t to shame.
The Bazaar: José Andrés may have been the first to bring the Spanish-style gintonic to LA. Called the Ultimate Gin & Tonic at the SLS Hotel restaurant, the drink is served in big glass goblet, as it should be, and made with Hendrick's, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray or Oxley gin,and Fever Tree or Stirrings tonic water. For the record: We prefer Hendrick's and Fever Tree for the savory, cucumber, herbal and crisp flavors. Why it's so ultimate: the gorgeous ice orb and the peppercorns, citrus peels, herbs and flowers floating in the glass. It perfectly matches both sides of The Bazaar's menu — the traditional Spanish tapas or the avante garde small bites — but at $18 a pop, it's special enough to have on its own.
Beelman's Pub: One of the best things at the new Downtown LA spot is your choice of gin and tonic — English or Spanish. If you want the tall collins glass filled with ice, tonic water and a slice of lime, go English. But the Spanish version fills a wine goblet with ice, booze and tonic water, plus slice of lemon and lime, herbs and a cinnamon stick. Side by side comparisons are encouraged.
The Chestnut Club: The new Westside boite from Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix celebrate the gin and tonic in various ways. For the ultra traditionalists, go with the Del Mar, a simple g&t with lime. But for something more serious, the Agua Caliente has a hint of serrano chile, lime and lemon; and the Brighton Racecourse is made with lavendar and grapefruit. The extra flavors play with the spices, juniper and herbal qualities of the gin creating a refreshing drink no matter how you get it.