15 drinks every Angeleno should try

Cocktails, coffee, juices—here are the 15 signature drinks that make up LA's drinking culture
By Erin Kuschner |
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Ask an Angeleno what their go-to drink is, and you may hear "green juice" as often as "Moscow Mule." What does a signature LA drink even mean? Judging by the storied history of certain cocktail bars, the latte art that fills our Instagram feeds, and the fact that juice seems to run through our veins, it means there really isn't one drink that embodies LA. Instead, we found 15. Whether you're looking for an afternoon pick-me-up at LA's best coffee shops or imbibing at a famed watering hole, here are the drinks you should order as a bona fide Angeleno.

How many have you tried? Fill out our checklist here.

Have you tried these signature LA drinks yet?

English Milk Punch at Faith & Flower
Photograph: Tomo Muscionico
Restaurants, Californian

English Milk Punch at Faith & Flower

icon-location-pin Downtown

The idea of drinking spiked milk might not appeal to everyone, but this drink, which has garnered critical acclaim across the country (it won Esquire's 2014 Cocktail of the Year award) is a universal hit. Made with multiple kinds of rum, bourbon, Batavia Arrack, absinthe, green tea, a smorgosbord of spices and clarified milk, it's enough to make you forget your lactose concerns. $16

Irish coffee at Tom Bergin's
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Pubs

Irish Coffee at Tom Bergin's Public House

icon-location-pin Central LA

There's a reason Tom Bergin's calls itself The House of Irish Coffee. The Fairfax pub serves the absolute best iteration of this drink in LA, with Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, simple syrup and dark roast coffee as the base, and chilled Irish cream serving as the proverbial cherry on top. Sláinte! $8

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Martini at Musso & Frank Grill
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Steakhouse

Martini at Musso & Frank Grill

icon-location-pin Hollywood

The history at Musso & Frank Grill is palpable—everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to Kevin Costner has mosied through this Hollywood hot spot—but you don't have to be a star to try their famed martini. More than 800 of these beauties are stirred, not shaken, on a Saturday night, topped with two olives and only a splash of vermouth if requested. If you aren't already a martini drinker, this version will make you an immediate convert. Starts at $10

Gin flight at The Flintridge Proper
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Gastropubs

Gin flight at The Flintridge Proper

icon-location-pin La Cañada

The largest gin bar in the world is right in our own backyard (La Cañada Flintridge), where more than 200 bottles of the clear spirit line the walls. For a memorable (or, you know, not, depending on how much gin you drink) experience, try a flight, including the bar's own Flintridge Native Botanical Gin. $15-$36

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Michelada at Diablo
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Mexican

Michelada at Diablo

icon-location-pin Silver Lake

There are a lot of great micheladas in town, but the Diablo version might be the most unique. Choose your beer, then top off your pint with a savory popsicle made with tomato juice, lime, chilis and spices. Dunk. Repeat. $3 per popsicle, plus the cost of beer ($6-$7)

Macademia almond cappuccino at G&B
Photograph: Courtesy G&B
Restaurants, Coffee shops

Macadamia almond cappuccino at G&B Coffee / Go Get Em Tiger

icon-location-pin Downtown Historic Core

Whether you pick up LA's best known cappuccino at G&B Coffee or Go Get Em Tiger, you'll automatically have a new standard by which to judge all other cappuccinos in LA. Charles Babinski and Kyle Glanville crafted this caffeinated beverage made with almond-macadamia milk, with the inclusion of dates to up the sweet factor. Order a cup, sit back and enjoy. $5

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Old Fashioned at The Varnish
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Cocktail bars

Old Fashioned at The Varnish

icon-location-pin Skid Row

First, it goes without saying that if you haven't yet been to The Varnish, you should go to The Varnish. And if you go to The Varnish, you should order the Old Fashioned. Bourbon, Angostura bitters, a sugar cube and a splash of club soda is poured over a block of ice, to be enjoyed slowly in the surrounds of LA's most revered bar. $13

Oyster luge at Tipple & Brine
Photograph: Alicia Cho
Restaurants, Seafood

Oyster luge at Tipple & Brine

icon-location-pin Sherman Oaks

If it seems a bit gimmicky—well, it is. The oyster luge at Tipple & Brine (it's not on the menu, but you can ask for it by name) draws people to the Valley for its kitsch factor, but it's also a must-try if you've never slurped up Scotch in your oyster shell. Sip a little bit of oyster brine, a small taste of Bowmore 10 Year Scotch, eat the oyster, pour the rest of the Scotch in the shell, then knock it down the hatch. $9

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Mezcallin at The Corner Door
Photograph: Acuna-Hansen
Restaurants, American

Mezcallin at The Corner Door

icon-location-pin Culver City

When The Corner Door's talented head bartender Beau du Bois crafted the Mezcallin, a spin on the traditional Penicillin, he created a drink that uses pineapple gomme to complement mezcal's smoky flavor. The result: a highly creative, complex cocktail that has left regulars enamored with the drink since 2012. $12

Punchbowl juices
Photograph: Jonathan Marlow

Any juice cleanse from a juice bar

Love it or hate it, juice cleanses aren't going anywhere; as a LA denizen, you're more than likely going to encounter someone talking (complaining?) about their juice experience. Just accept it. If you haven't tried a cleanse yet, head to your nearest Moon Juice, Pressed Juicery, Clover, Earthly Juices or wherever you hear the sound of a blender, then hunker down for a couple days. At least this way you'll have an opinion on the manner. More money than juice should ever cost.

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Adult otter pop at The Church Key
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Odd-er Pop at The Church Key

icon-location-pin West Hollywood

The Church Key's Odd-er Pop resembles the popsicles of your youth more than a boozy beverage, but don't be fooled: each pop contains a three-ounce cocktail, ranging from a "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (lemon drop) to a "It's Not Easy Being Green" (appletini). Head bartender Devon Espinosa has come up with plenty of creative concoctions here—canned Bloody Marys, anyone?—but these pops frozen with liquid nitrogen are his signature mark. $11 per pop

Ray's Mistake, Black Widow at Tiki Ti
Photograph: Becky Reams
Bars, Cocktail bars

Ray's Mistake at Tiki-Ti

icon-location-pin Los Feliz

Named after Ray Buhen, Tiki-Ti's founder, the tiki bar's most popular drink was made by pure accident. In 1968, Buhen put the wrong syrups in an Anting Anting, and was about to throw it away until a customer said he would drink the cocktail anyway. Today, the drink is made with Tiki-Ti's "super secret flavor," plus botanic liquers, passion fruit and dark Coruba rum. The moral of the story: Make mistakes, then drink 'em. $9

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Moscow Mule at Tam O'Shanter
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Scottish

Moscow Mule at Tam O'Shanter

icon-location-pin Atwater Village

Tam O'Shanter was slinging Moscow Mules long before everyone was ordering the ubiquitous copper mug full of liquor. Their version, made with Cock & Bull ginger beer, is a little spicy, a little sweet, and affordable enough to knock back a few before digging into the pub's fish and chips. $7

The Thirsty Crow at Thirsty Crow
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Clubs

The Thirsty Crow at Thirsty Crow

icon-location-pin Silver Lake

The namesake drink at The Thirsty Crow includes "magic" on its list of ingredients, and we are here to confirm that, yes, it's downright magical. Crafted by head bartender Cooper Gillespie, the refreshing cocktail features Old Overholt rye whiskey, maraschino, lemon and ginger beer, and so perfectly embodies the Silver Lake neighborhood it resides in. $12

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Margarita at El Cholo
Photograph: El Cholo
Restaurants, Mexican

Margarita at El Cholo

icon-location-pin Downtown

The El Cholo Margarita has presided as a classic LA drink in all of its uncomplicated glory since 1967. Made with El Cholo margarita mix, 1800 tequila, Cointreau and a bit of egg white, its one of the smoothest variations in town. So order a few, OK? $9

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