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LA's best summer cocktails to enjoy this season

Beat the heat with these incredibly creative summer cocktails, from boozy watermelon soju to a bean sprout-topped sipper

There are a million reasons (okay, more like 31) why LA is the best city ever, but here's another one to add to the list: summer cocktails. True, a cold beer while watching the Dodgers game at your favorite beer bar is a staple, but we've got a soft spot for throwing back fruit-filled libations on a rooftop lounge. To bring you this beautiful collection of cocktail porn, we drank our way through seasonally savvy cocktail bars to find the most refreshing summer cocktails in LA. Some are a little off-the-wall (hello, cannabinoid sours), but all of them are worth trying at least a few times as the days start to heat up. See you at the bar! 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in Los Angeles

Try these refreshing summer cocktails

Electric Daisy at 1212

One of Santa Monica's newest dining destinations is offering a drink with some serious buzz. The Electric Daisy, a fuschia libation that looks harmless enough, is made with pear, raspberries, hibiscus-infused agave, lavender gin, Lillet Rouge—and a whole lot of heat. Jalapenos add some fire to the drink, while an edible Szechuan button garnish leaves your mouth tingling in all the right ways. $12

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Santa Monica

Almost True at the Roger Room

We're big fans of the Roger Room's entire summer drink menu, but we're especially enamored with the Almost True, dreamed up by bartender Bruce Hood and comprised of an all-star lineup of ingredients: 50 Bleu Vodka, Mandarin Napoleon, Luxardo, OJ, lemon juice, Peychaud’s, cayenne, Mixwell Mojave Grapefruit Soda, an orange peel and crushed ice. $15

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La Cienega

Watermelon soju at Hanjip

Drinking (and eating) the watermelon soju at Hanjip is a blast—just watch out for the flying Pop Rocks. The communal drink served out of a hollowed-out watermelon shell comes with scoops of the fruit served inside, a sprinkling of Fruity Pebbles, a packet of Pop Rocks and a bottle of Jinro soju to get the party started. Pour the soju over the watermelon and enjoy the fireworks show. $20

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Culver City

Sour T-iesel at Gracias Madre

Is there anything that Gracias Madre's Jason Eisner can't concoct? He's made vegan sours, house-made moonshine, and most recently he's given Gracias Madre patrons a buzz with CBD-infused libations (yup, that's cannabinoid oil). The Sour T-iesel is a vegan sour made with tequila blanco, lime juice, agave nectar, mint, CBD and aquafaba with matcha tea powder garnish. $20

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West Hollywood

Mango Molida Mary at American Tea Room

A tea room might not be the first place you envision for good cocktails, but the American Tea Room in Downtown is switching up their menu this summer with the introduction of light, refreshing cocktails. The Mango Molida Mary is a tropical take on your standard boozy brunch drink, made with vodka, Mango Molida shrubs, tomato juice and lime. $12 

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Downtown Arts District

77º & Sunnie at Big Bar

Created by bar manager Cari "Sunnie" Hah, 77º & Sunnie is a vivacious, kick-in-your-mouth cocktail made with pineapple-infused Mt. Gay Rum, basil, lime and East Imperial ginger beer. The cherry on top comes in the form of a spicy ginger foam, so tangy that it'll linger in your mouth long after you've finished your first drink. We say first, because you'll definitely be ordering a second one of these. $12

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Los Feliz

#3 at Birch

Birch's bar director Gaby Mlynarczyk is a pro at incorporating seasonal ingredients into her culinary-driven cocktails. At the Hollywood restaurant where she mans the stick, the bar menu is broken down into numbers, and we're wild about this summer's #3—a rhubab Pimm's cup with strawberry lambic, pink vermouth and rose geranium. Garnished with edible flowers, it's like a veritable garden in your mouth. $14

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New Pad Thai at Kali

The thought of combining pad Thai and liquor is intriguing to say the least—thankfully, in Kali's case, it also results in a damn good drink. The cocktail is made with St. George Green Chile Vodka, Aqua Perfecta, lime and coconut ice, then topped with a nest of bean sprouts for a satisfying crunch. $14

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Central LA

The Prettiest Girl of All Time at ETA

Looking for something cold, fresh and fruity? ETA's the Prettiest Girl of All Time blends Tromba tequila blanco with berry tea, citrus cordial, sweet pickled kumquats, lemon balm and purple perilla mint for a subtly sweet, mildly tart and refreshing cooler that makes for some easy sipping. $12

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Highland Park

Dram, Daniel at Petty Cash Taqueria

Before you balk at the price tag of this cocktail, know that it's made for two—and that you and your drinking buddy will be fighting for the very last sip. Bartenders Matt Wagner and Ulysses Randolph crafted this tiki-fied behemoth, made with orange and pineapple juices, Diplomatico Reserva, Amaro Montenegro, velvet falernum, allspice dram, bitters and Lemon Hart 151. It all comes served in a hollowed-out pineapple bursting with garnishes. Served Friday to Sunday until they run out. $30 

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