The 100 best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles 2015: Drinks

We drank our way through 2015 with the best cocktails, coffee, wine and beer in the city. Cheers to you, LA!
Fuzzy del Navel at MiniBar
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Fuzzy del Navel at MiniBar
By Erin Kuschner and Time Out editors |
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Is it just us, or was 2015 the year Los Angeles really upped its cocktail game? Omakase menus at bars became a thing. Tiki drinks regularly popped up in places other than tiki bars. Garnishes really took hold (would you like a cricket with your cocktail?). Coupled with the fact that new—and great—coffee shops seemed to materialize left and right, we had a pretty fantastic time drinking beverages of all sorts this year. Take a look at our favorite sips of 2015.

RECOMMENDED: The best dishes and drinks in Los Angeles

LA's best drinks of 2015

Sacred Cow at Sambar
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Indian

Sacred Cow at Sambar

icon-location-pin Culver City

Creamy and luxurious, Sambar's Sacred Cow is one of the best menu items to come out of the new Culver City restaurant. Sloane's Gin is blended with yogurt and apricot liqueur, lemon and honey, and is topped with an egg white froth and pistachio crumble to create what feels like a tropical adult shake. $12. - Erin Kuschner

Sangria at Barcito
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Tapas bars

Sangria at Barcito

icon-location-pin Downtown

This sangria blew our minds. Made with stone fruit (peaches, plums and pears), rum and rosé, it's neither red nor white. The result is a crisp, easy sipper that tastes like you've bitten into a juicy pear. $8. - Danielle Jacoby

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Not Your Father's Root Beer at Maple Block Meat Co.
Photograph: Oriana Koren
Restaurants, Barbecue

Not Your Father's Root Beer at Maple Block Meat Co.

icon-location-pin Culver City

There's plenty of craft beer to pair with your ribs at this Culver City barbecue spot, but a more unique pick might be this delicious drink: Not Your Father’s Root Beer from Illinois, a fantastic spiced beer that expertly hides its 5.9% ABV. $7. - Erin Kuschner

Bars, Cocktail bars

The Infanté at Everson Royce Bar

icon-location-pin Downtown Arts District

The Infanté, a tequila tipple with lemon, almond, nutmeg and rosewater, stole our hearts with its combination of tart, sweet and lightly perfumed flavors. $12. - Merin McDonald

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Bloody Mary at Normandie Club
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Cocktail bars

Bloody Mary at the Normandie Club

icon-location-pin Koreatown

This uber-savory version of the beloved classic is served loaded with fresh tomato, celery and red bell pepper juices, lemon salt and pepper, and the Scandinavian spirit Aquavit, which is like vodka but with a dill flavor. It's funky in a great way. $13. - Danielle Jacoby

Tacoteca
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Mexican

Aguacatero at Tacoteca

icon-location-pin Santa Monica

This iridescent, pale green creation made with mezcal, green chartreuse, lime and avocado has a smoothness and earthy flavor unlike anything we’ve tasted in recent memory, including the cricket garnish. It's no longer on menu, but they’ll make it if you ask. $13. - Merin McDonald

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Bars, Cocktail bars

Fog Cutter at Now Boarding

icon-location-pin West Hollywood

Made with rum, gin, tangerine, Applejack, lemon and Orgeat, and then garnished with a neon giraffe holding a cherry, the Fog Cutter at this aviation-themed bar is as delicious as it is adorable. $14. - Danielle Jacoby

KCB at Redbird
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, American creative

KCB at Redbird

icon-location-pin Downtown

When asked to recommend a cocktail on our first visit to Redbird, our waiter blurted out “The KCB” before we could even finish our sentence. The drink looks simple enough, but takes you by surprise: gin, apricot and cumin-spiced kümmel result in a savory flavor profile that meanders between sweet and spicy. $12. - Erin Kuschner

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Flavored drinking vinegars at Pok Pok Phat Thai
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants

Drinking vinegar at Pok Pok Phat Thai

icon-location-pin Chinatown

These magical elixirs in their retro glass bottles behind the counter at Pok Pok Phat Thai make for some of the tastiest sodas we’ve had the pleasure of sipping. The flavored vinegars—think tamarind, thai basil, pineapple—are rich and tart, never sickly sweet, and perfect for washing down some stir fried water spinach or as a treat all on their own. $4.36, or $15 for a 6-ounce bottle. - Kate Wertheimer

Red Dead Revolver at Idle Hour
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Cocktail bars

Red Dead Revolver at Idle Hour

icon-location-pin North Hollywood

While the Red Dead Revolver has disappeared from Idle Hour’s menu in the months since it opened, it was one of our favorites. With mezcal, ancho chili, watermelon juice and a hint of salt, it was a perfect balance of smoky, spicy, sweet and savory, and we’d like to be reunited with it again. $12 - Merin McDonald

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Halva shake at Punchbowl
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Vegan

Halva shake at the Punchbowl

icon-location-pin Los Feliz

The Halva shake at the Punchbowl may be the most decadent item on the menu, but somehow we always manage to finish every last drop. It’s filled with figs, dates, tahini, banana and almond milk, and is topped off with a gentle sprinkling of sesame seeds. $10. - Jakob Layman

The Campfire at The Walker Inn
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Campfire at the Walker Inn

icon-location-pin Koreatown

The Campfire was the resounding winner of the Wet Hot American Summer menu at Walker Inn, initially because of the side of s’mores. But in the end, it was the experimental ingredients that won us over: graham cracker-washed bourbon and cherry wood smoke, both cooked up in the Walker Inn’s off-site lab. The resulting taste was utterly complex and silky smooth. $20 à la carte, $45 for omakase. - Danielle Jacoby

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Strawberry Puff at Terrine
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, French

Strawberry Puff at Terrine

icon-location-pin Beverly

It looks like the kind of drink a unicorn might sip on after a night spent frolicking in the clouds, but Terrine's Strawberry Puff is deceptively strong. Hayman's Old Tom Gin gives it a kick while strawberries, lemon and cream make it look My Little Pony-friendly. $15 - Erin Kuschner

Calvados apple brandy at D'Vine Wine Cellar
Photograph: Ryan Tanaka
Bars, Wine bars

Calvados apple brandy at D'Vine Wine Cellar

icon-location-pin Downtown

Normandy’s famous apple brandy is best reserved for cold winter nights, but if you need a little pick-me-up, Calvados will light a nice fire in your tummy. It’s potent, but tastes like apple and goes down like honey. $10. - Danielle Jacoby

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Fuzzy del Navel at MiniBar
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Cocktail bars

Fuzzy del Navel at MiniBar

icon-location-pin Hollywood

This doctored take on the '80s Collins swaps out vodka for pear brandy and peach schnapps for apricot liqueur. It’s refreshing, colorful and not nearly as sweet as you might expect, plus it’s garnished with a cute little cocktail umbrella. $14. - Merin McDonald

Horchata cold brew latte at Shreebs
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Coffee shops

Horchata cold brew at Shreebs

icon-location-pin Downtown Arts District

The colorful pop-up coffee shop, which currently has a temporary home in a shipping container in the Arts District, is putting out some pretty inventive cold brew lattes, including this gem: a horchata latte, featuring rice, almond, oat, cinnamon, cane sugar, sea salt and almond milk. $5-$6.25. - Erin Kuschner

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Grasshopper at Bar Toni's
Photograph: Victor Leung
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Grasshopper at BarToni's

icon-location-pin North Hollywood

It's hard not to daydream about this cocktail. The boozy mint milkshake borrows Portlander Jeffrey Morgenthaler's not-so-secret recipe, and you'll be feeling the gin and Fernet-Branca a few sips in. $14. - Danielle Jacoby

Alley Oop at Power House
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Cocktail bars

Alley Oop at Power House

icon-location-pin Hollywood

If you’re into margaritas, the Alley Oop might be the best one you’ve ever had. It might sound weird, but the cucumber marshmallow cream it’s topped with is so delicious, it immediately alleviates any doubts you had about such a thing. $13. - Merin McDonald

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Sorry Ms. Jamson at Gracias Madre
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Mexican

Sorry Ms Jamson at Gracias Madre

icon-location-pin West Hollywood

Like a couple of Crayola crayons melting together, Sorry Ms Jamson is stacked with spirits that offer a sweet, complex experience with each sip. A mix of apricot jam, lemon, mezcal and habanero bitters serve as the base, while a float of magenta Tempranillo (a Spanish red wine) caps off the cocktail along with an edible flower, too pretty to actually eat. $15. - Erin Kuschner

Earth at General Lee's
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Bars, Cocktail bars

Earth at General Lee's

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Head bartender Chris Day dreamt up this stiff swill that starts funky and ends sweet—a mix of rum, cognac, reishi mushroom, sugar and house-made bitters. $13. - Danielle Jacoby

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