Variety is the spice of life. But a cocktail with spice? Well, that’s extra nice … especially now that shorter days and cooler evenings are here. Spiced cocktails are a perfect way to change things up thanks to their intense aromas and warm, exotic flavors. Whether you feel like a mouth-tingling cayenne concoction or a nutmeg-and-cinnamon sensation, check out these must-try spots for a tasty spiced cocktail in Los Angeles.
The Zombie – Acabar
You’ll feel like the walking dead if you’re not careful with this one. A nod to Don the Beachcomber, this killer cocktail ($14) at the stunning new Acabar in Hollywood is made with four different rums, a flaming lime and finished with a healthy dose of cinnamon and nutmeg. FYI: It’s so dangerous it’s limited to two per person!
Velvet Slippers – Blvd 16
A cozy cocktail with layers of flavor, Velvet Slippers gets its smoky complexity from Corralejo Reposado, Vida mezcal and smoked organic paprika, clove, Velvet Falernum vanilla, egg whites, rosemary and two drops of Regan’s orange bitters.
Go Figure – 643 North
For a spiced drink in Chinatown, hit up 643 North for bartender Adam Acuff’s creation using Avion Reposado, Benedictine herbal liqueur, red vermouth, fig and thyme syrup and pinot noir. So good. Go figure.
Coquito Ciroc – Bootsy Bellows
This creamy cocktail has plenty of spice with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice sprinkled atop the mix of Ciroc Coconut, pineapple juice, coconut cream, milk and egg white. You can find it at Bootsy Bellows, Shorebar Santa Monica and Hooray Henry’s in WeHo.
¡Ay Papi! – Bar 1886
This spicy sipper ($14) created by Jesus Gomez and Saul Soto features Plata tequila and mezcal, housemade tamarind syrup, lime, honey and a blend of cayenne and chili. You’ll be crying “Ay Papi!” in no time.
Curry Blossom – Chi Lin
Deceptively smooth and full of fruity sweetness, the Curry Blossom ($15) at West Hollywood hot spot Chi Lin is a potent medley of Grey Goose with apricot liqueur, curry leaf, fresh raspberry, spices and orgeat.
Hoodlum – Corner Door
Bartender extraordinaire Beau du Bois has created yet another cleverly named (and criminally smooth) cocktail with the Hoodlum, a mix of armagnac, housemade pumpkin beer liqueur and peated clove tincture ($12).
Beirut Heat – Open Sesame
To make this spiced cocktail from mixologist Stephen Koleski, muddle a handful of fresh cilantro with a hot chili pepper and add Cazadores tequila, fresh lime juice, yellow chartreuse and simple syrup. Shake, strain and top with a splash of prosecco and cilantro.
Strega Genesis – Allumette
In the beginning … bartender Serena Herrick created the Strega Genesis at Allumette in Echo Park made with the namesake herbal liqueur plus Dolin vermouth, fennel, cardamom, lime and lemon ($12). And it was good.
Puro Sangre – Amor Y Tacos
Ortega 120 chef Tommy Ortega’s new Mex spot in Cerritos is where you can get a hit of Puro Sangre, a smoky and spicy concoction of chamoy (savory sauce made from pickled fruit), Monte Alban mezcal, fresh limeade, muddled orange and chili powder.
Sleepy Hollow – Next Door Lounge
You don’t need a key to enter the swanky Next Door Lounge, but the Sleepy Hollow cocktail locks in delicious autumn flavor with St. George Breaking and Entering bourbon, pumpkin puree, lemon juice and allspice-infused plum syrup.
La Maria Bonita – The Edison
Paying homage to the great Mexican actress of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, Maria Felix, La Maria Bonita is a kicky mix of mezcal, fresh lime juice, vanilla infused agave syrup, thinly sliced serrano peppers and basil.
Pumpkin Colada – Caña Rum Bar
Perfect for the season, the Pumpkin Colada includes Lemon Hart 151 rum, a touch of lemon juice and housemade pumpkin colada mix topped with freshly grated nutmeg. (Hint: To make pumpkin colada mix at home, combine coconut cream, pumpkin puree and Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter.)
The Becket – Muddy Leek
This potent cocktail at Culver City’s popular Muddy Leek features Irish whiskey, vermouth, absinthe, Angostura orange bitters and orange zest with spicy toasted cloves.
European Hot Buttered Rum – 320 Main
Never mind a spot of tea – tis the season for a cup of hot buttered rum at 320 Main in Seal Beach. This delightfully warm nightcap is made with Smith & Cross Jamaica Rum, Becherovka bitters, hot apple cider and nutmeg.
Bourbon County Lullaby – Larry’s Venice
This lullaby will put you right to sleep (okay, maybe not, but it’ll certainly rock & roll you) thanks to its blend of Bulleit bourbon, Miracle Mile gingerbread bitters and vanilla beans.
Roasted Manhattan – Caulfield’s Bar & Dining Room
Caulfield’s in Beverly Hills (inside the Thompson Hotel) is where you’ll find a range of spiced cocktails like the Roasted Manhattan ($13) made with Riverboat unfiltered rye, sweet vermouth infused with roasted red pepper and habanero shrub bitters.