A drink + a jam: LA's best summer cocktails and summer playlist (SLIDESHOW)

Chill out with LA's best summer cocktails and summer playlist with these drink + song pairings from our favorite bars.

1/16
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Drink: Celerium ($10), gin, celery, anise seed, at Stella Barra

Jam: "First Breath After Coma" by Explosions in the Sky

 

2/16
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Drink: Banana Hammock ($10), PettyCash rum blend, banana infusion, lime, tamarind, cassia, dehydrated banana chip, at PettyCash Taquería

Jam: "It's Raining Men" by the Weather Girls

"I'm sure you can connect the dots on this song and drink pairing." –Julian Cox, PettyCash Taquería

3/16
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Drink: China Doll, jasmine-infused Caprock organic gin, lemon juice, jasmine coconut cream, egg white, at No Vacancy

Jam: "China Girl" by Iggy Pop

"The drink is for that beautiful female muse that Iggy Pop sings about." –Sean Hamilton, No Vacancy

4/16
Photo courtesy Church & State

Drink: Maid in Manhattan ($13), Old Overholt rye, Dolin rouge, mint, cucumber, lime, and Angostura bitters, at Church & State

Jam: Theme song from New York, New York by Frank Sinatra


"This play on a classic screams New York, New York, a standard and pun intended." –Jonathan Navasartian, barman at Church & State

5/16
Photo courtesy Church & State

Drink: Purple Rain ($13), Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Cocchi vermouth, thyme, blackberry and lime, at Church & State

Jam: "When Doves Cry" by Prince

"I put together a playlist for the restaurant at the same time as the creation of the cocktail list, and it just so happened that When Doves Cry was playing when I came up with this cocktail. Fitting." –Jonathan Navasartian, barman of Church & State

6/16
Photo courtesy Circa

Drink: Carrie Bradshaw ($10), vodka, organic cranberry juice, Combier, lime, citric acid, at Circa

Jam: "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful

 

7/16
Photo courtesy Rustic Canyon

Drink: Corazón de Fresas, ($15), Scorpion mescal silver, Gaviota strawberry, lime, basil, at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen

Jam: "A New Life" by Jim James

"This is a perfect summertime cocktail, something you could drink at the beach. Fresh strawberries and basil give a light sweetness, which is balanced out by a hint of smokiness from the mescal. The drink is a bit romantic, so A New Life goes perfectly with it." –Aaron Ranf, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen

8/16
Photo courtesy Red O

Drink: Casablanca clear margarita ($14), Casamigos silver tequila, triple sec, clarified lime juice, simple syrup, at Red O

Jam: "Bamboléo" by the Gipsy Kings

"The song is similar to the cocktail—Latin, unique and something that will stick in your mind after it ends." –Steve Calabro, Red O

9/16
Photo courtesy Short Order

Drink: Charlie Brown ($12), roasted peanut infused bourbon, vanilla custard, chocolate and peanut syrups, at Short Order

Jam: "Linus and Lucy" by Vince Guaraldi

"This shake was inspired by a desert from Nancy Silverton, in which the salted Spanish peanuts stole the show. I incorporated the nuts into a shake and thought the Charlie Brown was the perfect name." –Julian Cox, Short Order

10/16
Photograph: Michael Gardnes

Drink: Jardin de Fraises ($10), Clover kefir, strawberries, fig, clover honey and fig balsamic, at Fig & Olive Melrose Place

Jam: "Je t'aime...Moi non plus" by Serge Gainsbourg

"I am a Beatles kind of guy, but when I think of this summery concoction and its lusciousness, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin comes to mind with the sensual hit "Je t'aime...Moi non plus." –Michael Loomis, Fig & Olive Melrose Place

 

11/16
Photo courtesy Cut

Drink: The Monstera Deliciosa ($18), Crusoe Organic Silver Rum, Coleman Family Farms Cherimoya, Pulito Family Farms Lime Juice, Cut

Jam: "Wipe Out" by the Surfaris

"This drink screams summer with rum and cherimoya, a Southern California fruit that is green and scaly and ugly on the outside but deliciously tropical on the inside. It tastes like banana, passion fruit, mango, pineapple and lychee all in one bite. We salt half the rim to make it go down easy. Finish one and you're well on your way to a wipe out!" –Dana Farner, Cut

12/16
Photo courtesy the Larchmont

Drink: Southern Circles ($13), Atlantico Reserva Rum, lemon, ginger, honey, orange bitters, at the Larchmont

Jam: "Dirty Old Town" by the Pogues

 

13/16
Photo courtesy Public Kitchen & Bar

Drink: Pineapple Express ($14), Sailor Jerry spiced rum, lime, pineapple, basil and ginger beer, at Public Kitchen & Bar

Jam: "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley

"You can’t go wrong with a little Bob Marley while sipping on some rum." –David Veis, Public Kitchen & Bar

14/16
Photo courtesy Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air

Drink: Pins & Needles ($18), Tanqueray, rosemary syrup, lemon juice, cucumber, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Jam: "Summer Wind" by Frank Sinatra


"The perfect song to play this drink on the bar's outdoor terrace on a beautiful, breezy summer evening." –Tim Wilson, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

15/16
Photo courtesy the Pikey

Drink: She's a Lover ($10), chamomille-infused Bacardi rum, blackberries, mint, lemon luice and honey, at the Pikey

Jam: "She's a Lover" by the Pretty Things

"The Pretty Things named the drink for me as "She's a Lover" was serendipitously playing when I took my first sip of the cocktail. The fresh ingredients remind me of the perfect summer day." –Eric Shani, the Pikey

16/16
Photo courtesy Hinoki & the Bird

Drink: The Hinoki Swizzle ($14), Amontillado Sherry, St. Germain, green apple juice, champagne, at Hinoki & the Bird

Jam: "In a Sentimental Mood" by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

"Just like the song, this drink is refreshing, light, vibrant and really beautiful." –Sam Ross, Hinoki & the Bird

We checked out the best cocktail bars and best restaurants in the city to bring you LA's best summer cocktails. Whether you're craving an alfresco swizzler or beachside drink in a bottle, sip on these 20 cocktails that kick off the season. And the best thing to pair with a fun-in-the-sun drink? A summer jam, of course. Turn up the volume and play this cocktail-inspired setlist loud.

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