Shaken, stirred or neat, Cocktail Academy’s drinks are some of the city’s most sought-after when it comes to lubricating events and restaurant bars. The consulting firm is one of L.A.’s go-tos for cocktail menus, and it’s little surprise why: Founder Matt Landes weaves Angeleno pride and ingredients into most drinks, whether he’s using L.A.-made spirits or simmering locally sourced persimmons down into syrups. Here are his picks for stocking your New Year’s bar with the best Los Angeles-based booze, for your best NYE yet.
Once you’ve rounded up these picks, try your hand at Landes’s recipe for a bubbly libation, below.
Greenbar Distillery’s Slow Hand Six Woods Malt Organic Whiskey
“Greenbar is L.A.’s first distillery since Prohibition, and they make incredible spirits. This one’s aged with six different types of wood, making it incredibly complex and distinctive; it’s great neat or in your favorite whiskey cocktails.”
Ventura Spirits Co.’s Wilder Gin
“This is my hands-down-favorite local spirit. I grew up hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and every time I drink this, it takes me back to hiking there. It’s distilled with wild-harvest California botanicals, which makes this a uniquely SoCal gin perfect for the your New Year’s Eve celebration.”
Ludlows Cocktail Co.’s Cinnamon Birch Tonic
1 ounce prosecco
1 ounce Amaro Angeleno
1 ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth
Pop Rocks and 1 orange, for garnish
“A great New Year’s cocktail is sophisticated, yet ideal for drinking through the night and into next year. Combine the amaro and vermouth, then pour over a large ice cube. Top with prosecco to give the drink a buzzy effervescence, then garnish each with an orange wheel topped with strawberry Pop Rocks. The result? An event your friends and family won’t soon forget.”