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Danielle Silva

Danielle Silva

Danielle Silva works for Live Nation by day and is a Time Out Los Angeles drink critic by night. Her weakness is something smoky and stirred. Follow her on Twitter @Danielle_Jacoby

Articles (2)

The 8 best sazeracs in Los Angeles

The 8 best sazeracs in Los Angeles

Hard day? Wash away your worries with one of the booziest drinks in American history. Born around 1850 in a New Orleans pharmacy, the sazerac got its start as a medicinal elixir. The original recipe by Creole druggist Antoine-Amédée Peychaud called for cognac, his family’s cure-all bitters and a little sugar to help the medicine go down. That basic recipe has seen changes over the years—mainly the addition of an absinthe rinse and rye instead of cognac. But the principle has remained the same: For any ailments, drink a sazerac and you’ll feel better in no time. Found in some of LA's best cocktail bars and hotel bars, these renditions are the top sazeracs in the city. RECOMMENDED: Guide to cocktails in Los Angeles

The 8 best Vieux Carrés in Los Angeles

The 8 best Vieux Carrés in Los Angeles

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the Vieux Carré cocktail. This dark horse of a New Orleans classic tends to get overshadowed by its older brother, the Sazerac—deemed the city’s official drink in 2008. But who doesn’t love an underdog? Vieux Carré (pronounced “view-ka-ray”) may sound a tad stuffy, but it’s just an OG name for the French Quarter. The intoxicating blend of high-proof rye, cognac and sweet vermouth, brightened up with bitters and a dash of Bénédictine, is a kissing cousin to the Manhattan—if said cousin lived in Louisiana and loved to have a good time. Fortunately, modern bartenders really dig the Vieux Carré, especially in Los Angeles (the other LA). That’s the beauty of a cult classic. Here you’ll find the best the City of Angels has to offer.  RECOMMENDED: Our guide to cocktails in Los Angeles

Listings and reviews (27)

The Huntley Hotel

The Huntley Hotel

3 out of 5 stars

This Santa Monica-cool boutique hotel—perfectly positioned near the water, the shopping, and the nightlife—is a near-perfect seaside oasis. Boasting chic digs, a dining hot spot and unparalleled views, The Huntley is missing but one thing: a swimming pool. With all that panache, we can probably let it slide. Located a pebble’s throw from the Pacific, this property is not what you would expect of a beachside retreat. Step inside the 1960s-era building along residential Second Street and there are hundreds of flickering candles emitting the hotel’s signature jasmine scent (on sale in the lobby shop, naturally), dark wood furniture, oversized leather chairs and brass accents. There is a wall covered in 300 lacquered ceramic piranhas, but that’s about the only homage paid to the hotel’s coastal locale. The aesthetic overall is strikingly modern, favoring style over amenity. Unlike the neighboring hotels, The Huntley lacks that quintessential pool deck for guests to see and be seen. Instead, there is a trendy restaurant/lounge on the top floor. Eighteen stories up, a world of pretty people, glass chandeliers, curtained cabanas and 360-degree ocean views await. Aptly named The Penthouse, the airy, indoor venue makes for both a picture-perfect bottomless brunch and epic night out. Guests at The Huntley like to party. Minibar necessities include Red Bull, vodka, a cocktail shaker, energy bars and an intimacy kit (i.e. condoms). And night owls rejoice: Room service is split into two o

Travelodge Hotel at LAX

Travelodge Hotel at LAX

2 out of 5 stars

This quintessential layover lodging is located a half-mile from the Los Angeles International Airport and trades the bells and whistles for the essentials: clean guest rooms, free Wi-Fi and complimentary continental breakfast. For those nondiscriminatory travelers desperate for somewhere to rest their heads post-flight, this 147-room accommodation works fine. Like most airport hotels, Travelodge LAX provides a shuttle to and from the terminals free of charge. The non-smoking rooms are no nonsense. Expect the basics: bed, desk, fridge, air conditioning, cable TV (with HBO, at least), blow dryer and coffeemaker. The second-floor rooms have balconies that overlook the pool area. While not exactly picture perfect for social media purposes, the pool is clean and the chaise lounges are aplenty, which is all guests really need to relax after a long flight. But the best part about staying at Travelodge LAX is undoubtedly the free breakfast. The already inexpensive rates include a hefty continental spread. We’re talking the works: fresh waffles, sausages, juice, fresh fruit, toast, bagels, hot drinks, donuts and cereals. A full stomach makes waiting in those horrific security lines a little more tolerable, right? Location: Travelodge LAX sits a few blocks from LA’s international airport. Nothing—besides the airport—is quite within walking distance, but there are plenty of food and entertainment options minutes away by car. Farther afoot are South Bay beaches and movie magic at Sony Pi

O Hotel

O Hotel

3 out of 5 stars

This small, modern abode sits in the heart of Downtown’s Financial District, making it a convenient resting spot between tourist excursions. Decidedly less flashy than the hotels up the road, what the O lacks in onsite entertainment it makes up for in price, at well under $200 per night. Some hotels are so L.A., but the O—not so much. Blink and you might miss the understated entrance along Flower Street. The building, which dates back to 1925, accommodates 67 compact guest rooms oozing with minimalist charm: plenty of grey with pops of red, exposed cement walls and contemporary furniture. It’s not the coziest atmosphere, but it makes for a satisfactory stay. A nightly resort fee includes free Wi-Fi, bottled water, a daily newspaper, eco-friendly bath products and continental breakfast so guests can hit the town with full bellies. That fee also includes access to a nearby Gold’s Gym. It’s a short walk, but we doubt you’ll be getting a workout in when there’s so much to explore nearby: Major Downtown attractions like Disney Concert Hall and L.A. Live, as well as a profusion of fantastic dining and nightlife options, are all a hop, skip and jump away. Location: Location is really the best thing O has going for it. Guests are within easy walking distance to the L.A. Convention Center, Pershing Square and the Music Center. A block away is the 7th Street Metro Center, which is hands down the quickest and most affordable means of transportation throughout the city—stops include Univ

Dream Hollywood

Dream Hollywood

5 out of 5 stars

Located in a revitalized pocket of Cahuenga Boulevard, the trendy hotel chain’s first West Coast outpost is as Hollywood as it gets. From an Insta-friendly mural by elusive graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash to a rooftop pool that doubles as a dance floor, it’s a dream come true (pun intended). Lap up the Hollywood lifestyle at this vibrant hotel situated minutes from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame. Those landmarks might be close, but guests aren’t here for the touristy stuff. It’s the party they’re after, and Dream does not disappoint. The 10-story tower contains the hotly anticipated fourth iteration of TAO restaurant (rmore of a nightclub than a fine dining establishment), NYC’s ultra-hip Beauty & Essex—the entrance for which night owls will find via a legitimate pawn shop off the refurbished alley—and an 11,000-square-foot, 500-person-capacity rooftop pool and lounge boasting unparalleled views of the Los Angeles skyline. That pool converts into a dance floor courtesy of a $300,000 hydraulic lift; no expenses spared. Other exclusive amenities include a 24-hour Gunnar Peterson-designed fitness center. Perhaps the name rings a bell? He’s trained Sophia Vergara, Angelina Jolie, Khloe Kardashian and now the Lakers, so guests are in good hands. The gym happens to be conveniently situated next door to a modelling agency (in case guests are looking for their next big break). Between the plethora of pretty people and boundless entertainment options, Dream lives up to i

Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica

Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica

4 out of 5 stars

This beachy, pet-friendly hotel located four blocks from the Pacific delivers a classic SoCal experience, complete with a heated outdoor pool, bike rentals, fitness classes and a wholly laidback demeanor. They say the ocean has healing powers, and one could say the same thing about free parking; Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica has both. Nestled in the artsy Ocean Park district of Santa Monica, the 310-room four-star hotel doesn’t exactly kiss the beach, but at least guests can view the Pacific from their balconies. And the sea breeze is more than palpable poolside, where a plethora of full service lounge chairs await. That California sunset makes for a great backdrop to craft cocktails in the lobby’s Longitude Bar. This hotel has all the bells and whistles of a resort with the European charm of a boutique accommodation. Rent a bike and traverse the city’s popular 26-mile path or reserve a class in the state-of-the-art fitness facility—all complimentary save for a $28 service fee which also includes free bubbly at check-in, gratis Wi-Fi and overnight parking. Thanks to its semi-off-the-beaten-track location, obnoxious tourist activity is kept at a minimum, making that much-needed R&R even more attainable. Location: Not technically ocean-side property, it's a painless stroll to the beach – approximately 1.4 miles from the iconic pier, aquarium and Third Street Promenade. An even shorter walk or hotel shuttle ride (anywhere within a 2-mile radius is free) takes you to the great

Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles

Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles

4 out of 5 stars

This 15-floor Sheraton, strategically positioned within walking distance of the bustling Los Angeles International Airport, provides worn-out commuters with two very important layover essentials: a welcoming resort pool and soundproofed rooms. It doesn’t take much to cheer up a weary traveler; usually a clean bed will do the trick. But the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles aims for more. The beds here are not only clean, they are downright heavenly. Each of the 802 guestrooms, including 102 suites, features Sheraton's signature 11.5-inch thick, high coil count, plush pillow top "Sweet Sleeper Bed.” The rooms, along with the entire hotel, have recently undergone a $13.5 million renovation. As a result, the digs are modern and sleek, with plenty of marble, brass accents and natural light. But the real reason to stay at this particular LAX-adjacent hotel is the pool. Surprisingly large, the deck is lined with new wicker lounge chairs, cabanas and tons of lush greenery. Best of all, it is quiet. Hard to believe you’re around the corner from an airport. That’s thanks to limited flyovers, which means sweeping city views from most of the guest rooms. Never has your layover Instagram story looked this good. Location: Sheraton Gateway is located around the corner from the LAX. There’s a free airport shuttle, plus a $5 Ocean Express to Manhattan Beach, and some solid food options a short Uber or Lyft ride away.   Nearby: Fork-In Aussie Pies: In need of some Australian comfort food? Take a q

Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport

Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport

4 out of 5 stars

Airport hotels have a reputation for not being the most desirable destinations. The Hyatt Regency LAX (formerly The Concourse) is trying hard to change that. From the street, the digs are admittedly rather drab. However, it is an entirely different story inside. The hotel’s redesigned lobby is sleek, clean and modern, as are all 580 well-equipped guest rooms and suites. We’re talking a 55-inch LED flat-screen television with HDMI streaming capabilities, quadruple-pane soundproof windows and a rainfall shower—all to provide visitors with some much-needed relaxation. There is also a large pool and a substantial gym that overlook the lively LAX runways. Not sure one cares about views of the airport, but there are views nonetheless. As for cuisine, this is not your typical airport hotel fare. Executive Chef Charles Fusco (a vet of the Hyatt hotel chain) serves up Asian and Latin American dishes in two lobby restaurants: grab-and-go style at Open Market and all-day sit-down dining at Unity LA. While not the most lavish oasis, the Hyatt Regency LAX is definitely upping the ante in the airport hotel game. Location: Situated less than one block from the Los Angeles International Airport, the Hyatt Regency LAX is an easy stroll from any terminal in the airport. The hotel provides a complimentary 24-hour shuttle service to its guests that is quick and easy. There also happens to be plenty of great food and drink options nearby. Best to catch a taxi, Uber or Lyft to one of those though,

W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills

W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills

4 out of 5 stars

Smack dab in the heart of Bruin territory, this chic W outpost located walking distance from UCLA buzzes with youthful vitality thanks to its hip poolside lounge, trendy on-site steakhouse and a lobby that could double as a nightclub. Don’t let the address deceive you. While tucked away in a residential neighborhood, this outpost of the W Los Angeles is anything but relaxed. On any given night, the lobby is chock-full of the city’s most stylish locals, the music is turned up and mood lighting is in full effect. Crushed velvet sectionals and modern artwork give the lobby a living room kickback vibe. And the party doesn’t stop there. During the summer, the compact pool area (aptly named “Wet”), where the real estate is taken up by more cabanas than actual swimming space, transforms into a Las Vegas-style rave complete with DJs spinning and high-priced bottle service. For those spending the night, every one of the 258 rooms is a suite with a name like “Fabulous” and “Wow.” And for the most part, the hyperbole is warranted. These rooms are spacious, each with a separate bedroom, office and den, all with fairly nice views—some of the ocean, others of the neighbor’s backyard. Location: To clarify, while the hotel is billed as Beverly Hills, the W Los Angeles is in Westwood. The upscale residential community is about a 10-minute drive to the center of 90210 – about 3 miles from the high-end shops on Rodeo Drive and 5 miles from the Getty Center, but a good 20 minutes to the beach. T

Melody Lounge

Melody Lounge

3 out of 5 stars

Melody Lounge seems to tick every box on our craft beer bar checklist. The Chinatown dive is a beer geek retreat, with just the kind of off-the-beaten-path location and bland exterior to keep outsiders away. What those reluctant to venture inside don’t know is that this red-hued windowless space—as tight as its patrons’ jeans—is home to one of the most impressive selection of suds in town. Don’t let the mood lighting and blaring vinyl make you think otherwise: this is a bar for serious beer people, with two dozen rotating local brews on tap and refrigerated cases chock-full of obscure bottles covering all the bases, from wild American sours to caramely Belgians. Imbibers could spend hours sipping 10-percenters out of tulip glasses, but at some point they're going to get hungry. Good thing there’s no shortage of restaurants nearby to feed those late-night cravings.VitalsGood for: A chill spot to talk beer. This place is a veritable treasure trove of affordable (we’re talking $6 on average) specialty suds. Newbies should stick to the chalkboard tap list of options from local breweries like Eagle Rock, Angel City and Hangar 24, seeking counsel in the wise bartender for guidance. Bottles are the way to go for veterans. There’s no menu for the 100 or so they keep in the fridges off to the side, but given the volume, they probably have what you want. The scene: Beneath the canopy of glowing paper lanterns you’ll find an eclectic crowd kicking back with glasses filled to the brim. T

Southland Beer

Southland Beer

3 out of 5 stars

It may be a little tricky finding this place at first. Nestled deep in a quiet strip mall a few blocks down from the Wiltern, Southland Beer isn't the first place that comes to mind for Koreatown imbibing. Inside, a craft beer haven dreamt up by two librarians—Tim Sturn and his wife, Orchid Mazurkiewicz—awaits. Nineteen ales from relatively nearby breweries like Smog City, Monkish, Barley Forge and El Segundo flow from the tap, some on nitro. There’s even a draft line reserved for cask-conditioned beer—more recently, MacLeod Ale’s Yankee Mick. But that’s not what sets it apart from Beer Belly up the street. Southland is the area’s first tasting room and bottle shop rolled into one. Tucked off to the side through an archway aptly labeled “BEER” in marquee lights is every brew hound’s dream: refrigerators and shelves chock-full of carefully selected bottles priced to-go. For an extra $2, imbibers can sample the suds on-site. Close quarters, communal seating, games and some interesting food pairings (aged Gouda and a double cream stout, for example) make this dressed-up hole-in-the-wall a solid neighborhood spot. VitalsGood for: Post-work and pre-show drinks, though to be clear it’s beer (and only beer) you’ll be drinking. But don’t worry, there are brews for all palates, like mild ambers to funky sours. Share tasting notes in between rounds of Jenga, and order a few snacks—popcorn, hickory-smoked pistachios, or perhaps a slice of pecan pie—to hold you over until dinner. Southla

Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping

4 out of 5 stars

Good Housekeeping is what happens when you put a classic cocktail lounge in Highland Park. In this ever-changing neighborhood, curious imbibers can find the drinkery from Spirit Animal Group’s Nicholas Krok, Ryan Duffy and Jeremy Simpson inside a converted garage off an alleyway behind Cafe Birdie. Stop right there if you are getting even the teeniest inclination that this is a speakeasy; instead, the twinkle-lit courtyard and homey interior combo conveys a downright neighborly feel. Prepare to be welcomed with open arms regardless of whether you live within walking distance or are traveling from further afoot. Of course, there's plenty of eccentricity too, in the form of an alt-J-inspired playlist, a hip-bordering-on-quirky clientele and some real funky swills. We mean that in the best way, like a charcoal-filtered Manhattan or a Boulevardier made with strawberry-infused Campari. Would you expect anything less than three guys trained under Julian Cox? And the best part: no crowds. For real.  Vitals Good for: A wholly laid-back watering hole with superb libations to boot. The neighborhood is not going to be happy with us, because we’re letting you in on their best-kept secret. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Good Housekeeping: You could cuddle up with a loved one under the twinkling lights outside, gather your favorite cocktail-loving friends in a booth or saddle up to the marble-top bar and glean as much mixology knowledge as you can before the place shuts down for the nig

Iron Triangle Brewing

Iron Triangle Brewing

3 out of 5 stars

Enough already with the breweries—said no one ever. Remember when LA was severely lacking in craft beer? Thank goodness those days are over. Local production brewhouses are bubbling up all over DTLA, each unique in their own special way, but none quite as large or Prohibition-era as Iron Triangle. Housed in real estate that dates back to 1905, the prodigious facility and tasting room occupies nearly an entire Arts District block, with an output that could eventually challenge that of southland sweetheart Golden Road Brewing. The taproom alone is a whopping 10,000 square feet of raw warehouse, complete with untreated cement floor, exposed brick walls and soaring timber roof trusses attributed to the digs’ 20th century roots. Even with a 16-tap bar, cornhole pit, picnic tables and at least a dozen stainless steel fermenters, there’s still plenty of space to imbibe in peace. Whirling fans and abundant sunlight give the room a relaxed ambience. Without big-screen TVs and a plethora of board games, there’s really just one thing to do at Iron Triangle: Drink some solid beer. Maui Brewing Co. vet Darren Moser excels at making flavorful yet approachable brews, from refreshing ales to crisp IPAs—all, for the most part, $7 a pint. Beer geeks need not fret. Moser’s got you covered with palate pushers like the invigorating imperial black IPA deemed Jawbone or the easy-sipping Socially Awkward sour. Guess you’ve got a new stop on your Arts District brewery crawl.  Vitals Good for: Day dri

News (7)

L’Orgeat's Kevin Saharin and Jen Baker talk tiki and reinventing a classic

L’Orgeat's Kevin Saharin and Jen Baker talk tiki and reinventing a classic

The tiki movement’s secret ingredient is finally getting its day in the sun thanks to two L.A. hospitality vets Kevin Saharin and Jen Baker—of Melrose Umbrella Co. and Bagatelle fame—who’ve crafted the first all-natural, cane- and almond-based 40-proof orgeat liqueur. The product, aptly named L’Orgeat, is now available across L.A.   Why make an orgeat liquor? Jen Baker: Kev made a million variations of orgeat syrup but was always let down by their lack of shelf stability and consistency. One day he had this aha moment and realized all those issues could be eliminated by taking it from a syrup to a spirit. Kevin Saharin: We found a way to take this iconic flavor profile and give it a durability it never had before.   What was the most difficult part about making L’Orgeat? KS: Learning what best accentuates the almonds’ flavor. Lots of trial and error.   Is it daunting to take the reins of such a storied ingredient? KS: Tiki is steeped in tradition, and orgeat has been a part of that since its inception. But we see it more as reinventing a classic; we can make it a more bar-friendly and accessible ingredient to bartenders and beyond.   Where can L.A. imbibers find L’Orgeat? JB: Josh Goldman’s mai tai with L’Orgeat over at Citizen, Maita’I Roa Ae. The best. KS: Avery Underhill created a brilliant tiki push pop over at Break Room 86 that is perfect for a hot day. Or head over to my grandma’s house. She makes the dopest sticky toffee pudding with L’Orgeat as her new favorite addit

The Spare Room's Yael Vengroff talks L.A. cocktail culture and her proudest accomplishments

The Spare Room's Yael Vengroff talks L.A. cocktail culture and her proudest accomplishments

Yael Vengroff took over as bar director at The Spare Room in early 2015, and has since upped the hotel bar's cocktail game with inventive drinks that oscillate between tropical masterpieces and classic favorites with a twist (case in point: her Salt & Vinegar Martini). The former bar manager at Harvard & Stone also recently revamped the bar program at Genghis Cohen, a West Hollywood standby in need of an upgrade. We chatted with her about L.A.'s growing cocktail scene—and what to do after you've had a little too much to drink. What has been your proudest accomplishment behind the bar?Building a team at Harvard & Stone. I am nothing without them. That place had been open almost three years when I started there, and they were very much at the crux of the cocktail movement in Los Angeles, with Matt Wallace and Pablo Moix and all of these L.A. greats that you hear about. I was pretty young and vocal and I think I drove them up the wall. Eventually they offered me the bar manager position—I was a hard worker and they were loyal to that. That team at that particular time was really special to me. How did you approach putting the cocktail menu together for Genghis Cohen?Genghis is so unique because of it's largely diehard regulars. That drink menu has been around for 35 years. I don’t really know how many people in there actually drink the cocktails [which is] exciting. The menu [for the restaurant and lobby bar] is classics with quirky twists indicative of Chinese restaurant cockta

5 boozy milkshakes and frozen drinks you need to try right now

5 boozy milkshakes and frozen drinks you need to try right now

It’s hot in LA, like real hot. We’re talking triple-digit temps for some of you. Since perennial ice-cold showers are no longer an option (thanks, drought), there’s really only one thing that can make it all better. And that’s boozy milkshakes. Dessert that gets you buzzed. Doesn’t that just put a smile on your face? Screw the diet. Haven’t you sweat enough this summer? Ride the heat wave with these frothy treats.  1. PCH Golden Milk Porter Float at Plan Check Fairfax It takes two ingredients to make a great float: beer and ice cream. There’s no need to complicate things. Case in point, Plan Check’s PCH Golden Milk Porter Float ($12), which you’ll find under the “Sweets” portion of the menu. It's a glorious combination of Santa Monica Brew Works’ viscous Pale Chocolate Heaven Porter (PCH for short) and velvety vanilla bean ice cream. Something about the way the ice cream melts is just magical. If you are going to indulge on one beer float this summer, this one is it.  2. Grasshipster at Westbound Head over to the Arts District, where 300 Sante Fe neighbors Westbound and Van Leeuwen have collaborated on something really delicious through August only. Head bartender Dee Ann Quinones has whipped up three upgraded adult beverages incorporating far-out ingredients like earl grey and vegan matcha. But everyone’s favorite is the Grasshipster ($16)—a play on the '70s favorite “Grasshopper” cocktail—made with mint chip ice cream, Fernet Branca, crème de cacao and menthe. Your Instagra

Drink these rare drams at Miro's whiskey lounge before it's too late

Drink these rare drams at Miro's whiskey lounge before it's too late

There are unicorns in Miro’s basement. Whiskey geeks know what we’re talking about: Those uber-rare bottles that die-hard fans are willing to shell out upwards of $300 for, even empty ones on eBay. Perhaps the name Pappy Van Winkle rings a bell? Well, this shrine to brown liquor—housed in a former wine cellar hidden in the new Downtown restaurant's underground bar—has the 23-year bottle. It resides in what they call the “holy shit” cabinet, which also contains 32-year Port Ellen, 13-year Karuizawa Noh and Kavalan Single Malt. Salivating yet? The bar’s entire stock includes roughly 400 high-age statement and closed-distillery whiskeys from across the globe. We’re talking about a living, breathing collection; once a bottle is gone, it’s gone. Thankfully, we had Harry Lewin, one of the lounge’s whiskey masters, share exactly what serious drinkers should try (not just from the “holy shit” cabinet) before word spreads. The bar serves both 1- and 2-oz pours, but Lewin recommends opting for the former to get the most out of a visit.  For a Japanese whiskey novice: Nikka From the Barrel ($20 for 1 oz)This easy-sipper is characterized by an utterly smooth mouthfeel with a flavor that evolves from grassy to nutty to vanilla. “Don’t drink it like wine,” Lewin says. “Let it coat your throat, and then let it go down.” It’s a great place to start for those who have never tried Japanese whiskey.  For the adventurous palate: Octomore ($32 for 1 oz) Lewin describes this one perfectly: “It’s k

5 lessons from LA's 3rd annual Golden State of Cocktails

5 lessons from LA's 3rd annual Golden State of Cocktails

The concept of a cocktail convention might sound like an excuse to get sloshed, but listen: sampling tequila marques, tasting amari variations and learning about the history of tiki culture is serious stuff. And OK, maybe a little fun too. California’s premier educational cocktail festival, known as Golden State of Cocktails (or “cocktail church” to some), concluded Tuesday after three days of seminars, bar crawls and cocktail dinners, with the majority of events taking place in Downtown's The Majestic. The intensive seminars spanned the gamut, from a hands-on lesson in Japanese bartending by a vet of Vegas' Tokyo 365 to a discourse on the many variations of amaro. And, of course, there was plenty of drinking. In case you weren't able to pop into the Majestic Halls earlier this week, we’ve rounded up a few takeaways from this year’s festivities. Hopefully some of this will help mitigate that serious case of FOMO you’ve been nursing. 1. So this is how you say "orgeat" Martin Cate, esteemed rum expert and founding father of San Francisco’s acclaimed tiki bar, Smuggler’s Cove, is a big deal. Want to get in good with the man? Learn how to correctly pronounce the fundamental tiki ingredient, orgeat. It’s a sweet almond syrup with a hint of orange and rosewater, but none of that matters unless you can say it right. It’s "or-zsa." Think oar, like the paddle, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Got it? Good. 2. Making punch is as easy as 1-2-3 ... 4-5 There's this old Barbadian rhyme: "1 of sour, 2 o

5 places in LA that serve edible bug cocktails

5 places in LA that serve edible bug cocktails

Care for desiccated worms in your cocktail? How about crushed crickets? Apparently, edible bugs (edible being the key here) are the latest ingredient for LA’s leading mixologists. Creative masterminds, from Julian Cox (Petty Cash) to Gilbert Marquez (Tacoteca), are taking fresh produce to a whole new level on the farm-to-glass cocktail front. Here’s the really strange part: The bugged-out beverages they’re whipping up actually taste good. Not to mention, creepy crawlies are inherently nutritious; some have more iron and protein than meat, plus omega-3 fatty acids equal to that of fish. So quit your eww-ing and give one of these a try. Don’t worry, the smoky mezcal in each of these concoctions blends perfectly with the metallic, dirt-like flavor of dried caterpillar, powdered crickets and whole, deep-fried grasshoppers. We won’t say anything if you can’t find the courage to nibble on your garnish. Bug Appétit! Cocktail: Jasmine Margarita at Bar Centro (The Bazaar by José Andrés) Price: $17 Major Ingredients: Avignon Silver tequila, lime juice, pomegranate syrup and bitters make up this more straightforward concoction from mixologist Conor O’Brien. Bottom Line: Surprisingly, this is probably the least adventurous libation on the list and the only one without mezcal. The drink itself is really just a pomegranate margarita. Where it gets a little out-of-the-box is on the rim of the glass, which is dipped in sal de gusano, or a Oaxacan salt blended with dried agave worms. The tast

Vodka is making a comeback, and other things we learned at Golden State of Cocktails 2015

Vodka is making a comeback, and other things we learned at Golden State of Cocktails 2015

If your local bartender is a little slow on the uptake this weekend, here’s why: Golden State of Cocktails ended Thursday night. The booze industry-focused conference, now in its second year, brought the country’s best in the biz together for four straight days of drilling, stirring, shaking, and yes, heavy drinking. But it wasn’t complete debauchery at the Los Angeles Athletic Club this past week. Seminars filled two floors of the historic Downtown building, where cocktail royalty—the likes of King Cocktail Dale DeGroff (Rainbow Room in NYC) and Marcus Tello (Neat, 1886)—led up to three-hour discussions on everything from looking effortless behind the bar to becoming an entrepreneur. And while “Attitude Behind The Bar” was less relatable for the everyday imbiber, there were plenty of takeaways for folks on the other side of the stick. For the bar-goer who opts for the bartender’s choice, the home cocktail aficionado playing around with spirits in the comfort of his or her apartment, and even the sake bomb buff—here’s what we learned at Golden State of Cocktails 2015. The truth about vermouth. How long has that bottle of vermouth been sitting on your bar cart? A few days? Toss it immediately. Vermouth is made of 75 percent wine, which means it will oxidize or spoil if left open. A bottle, when refrigerated, should keep for up to eight months. But like our instructor Giuseppe Gallo, global representative of Martini & Rossi Vermouths, said: “It’s so delicious, you’ll use it bef