Spring has sprung and that means it’s time to drink in the season with a fresh new colorful cocktail. Say goodbye to the hot toddies and pumpkin-tinis of the winter months and get ready for lots (and lots) of blood orange, fresh berries, a flower or two, and yes, even arugula. To get you going, here’s a small sampling of where to find spring cocktails around Los Angeles and Orange County.
BEVERLY HILLS / WEHO
La Seine –14 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Nothing says spring like fresh fruit and salad. And now you can have both in your drink at this Restaurant Row newcomer. Order the Hamilton, one of the many $12 “chef-crafted” concoctions, featuring cantaloupe-infused rum, arugula-infused simple syrup, and muddled arugula. Drink your veggies!
Comme Ca - 8479 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Let’s get ready to ruuuuuumble! Why wait for summer when you can get shaved ice now? Head over to Comme Ca for the Rumble, a decidedly grown-up version of the childhood treat made with rum, lemon and seasonal fruit (in this case, blackberries). The $12 drink is one reason to be glad you’re not a kid anymore.
Fig & Olive -8490 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Don’t they just look pretty? If you didn’t know, blood oranges are now in season. And where else would you want to toast the springtime than at this sprawling, much ballyhooed newcomer to Melrose Place? Try the Blood Orange Vodka-Rossellini ($12) with vodka, blood orange puree, citrus juices and an orange twist.
Red O – 8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Oh, oh, oh! Now that spring has sprung, this gorgeous Mexican resort of a restaurant has added a handful of made-from-scratch drinks. Along with his team, resident mixologist Steve Calabro has come up with the Red O Lemonade ($12), a ridiculously tasty mix of Koval White Rye (it’s a hard-to-find white whiskey that smells like banana bread!), Veev, lemon juice, homemade lemongrass syrup and soda water. There’s also La Dama Margarita, a spicy concoction dotted with pomegranate seeds and the Inspiracion Martini, the most unusually addictive drink made with plum bitters.
Basement Tavern – 2640 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Head underground (literally) at this tavern inside the Victorian’s basement for $10 cocktails like the Bathtub Gin (gin, citrus, jalapeño, cucumber, mint), the Modern Fashioned (whiskey, blackberries, blood oranges, agave nectar, bitters), and The Dragon (Pearl vodka, peach, strawberries, basil, spicy finish).
Bar Toscana - 11633 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood, CA 90049
This sleek bar is where to get pricey drinks that are made with the concentration of a chemist. For spring, the $15 Toscarita is a tangy fusion of Chinaco Blanco tequila, Villa Massa orangecello, lime, and agave nectar topped with Grand Marnier-blood orange foam and Sicilian orange peel sea salt. Brentwood’s Garden ($14) is a mix of vodka, lime, cucumber, celery bitters, and Cynar (an Italian bitter apéritif liqueur made from 13 herbs and plants), served with a tomato powder rim. If you ever wanted to drink a bitter liquid herb garden, this one’s for you.
Vu - 4175 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Wanna get Sprung? Of course you do. And you will at this new waterside dining spot inside the Jamaica Bay Inn. The aptly named Sprung cocktail ($12) is a mix of–you guessed it–blood oranges, maraschino cherry, Sazerac Rye Whiskey, absinthe, lemon, orange and Peychaud’s bitters and agave nectar. Just add water (views).
Napa Valley Grille - 1100 Glendon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Westwood’s mainstay for tasty Napa-inspired seasonal dishes is where to get a whiff of Spring Breeze ($12), an herbaceous cocktail made with Malibu Coconut Rum, Hum Botanical Ginger Spirit, housemade lemon verbena simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice. Have it on the outdoor patio for a more springtime experience.
Allston Yacht Club – 1320 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Never mind what its name says. This Echo Park neighborhood favorite is not a yacht club. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to whip up a drink that’ll make you feel as though you’re on a pleasure cruise. Try the Kumquat Squash made with freshly muddled kumquats (you can chew on the sweet skins while you drink), mint, bourbon and a spritz of carbonated water. At $9, it’s a perfectly refreshing hello to spring.
Villains Tavern –1356 Palmetto, Los Angeles, CA 91003
This hidden getaway in Downtown LA has that whole cool-place-in-a-total-sketch-location vibe on lock. Once you find your way here, grab a seat on the outdoor patio and order the Astarte, a $12 libation of Elijah Craig bourbon, fresh lemon juice, OJ, cucumbers and strawberries. Served in a Mason jar, it’s literally oh so cool.
Grill on the Alley -120 Promenade Way, Westlake Village, CA 91362
Simply smashing! All three Grill on the Alley locations (Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Westlake Village) are shaking up new cocktails for spring including the Seasonal Pear Smash made with pear vodka, simple syrup, lemon and pears like Comice and D’Anjou.
Casa Vega –13301 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
For those who are trying to get bikini ready before summer arrives, this Mexican mainstay in Sherman Oaks is where to get the Casa Vega Skinny Margarita ($9.95) made with fresh squeezed lime juice, organic agave nectar, spring water and Partida Reposado. It’s light but just tasty enough.
Fleming’s Steakhouse – 6373 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
This chain of steakhouses is where you can get Tickled Pink, a sparkling spring-like elixir that blends Belvedere vodka with orange juice and raspberries, and a splash of Mionetto Prosecco ($10.95). It’s just 99 calories and $6 every day 5pm-7pm during happy hour.
SOUTH BAY & ORANGE COUNTY
Ortega 120 – 1814 PCH, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
For spring, this popular Mexican spot in Redondo Beach has whipped up the Fresa Genjibre, a fruity yet spicy blend of Avion Reposado, fresh strawberries, agave simple syrup, lime juice and fresh grated ginger. Served in a chilled martini glass sprinkled with candied ginger, this is truly liquid refreshment.
Silver Trumpet Restaurant & Bar – 3350 Ave of the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
This newly redesigned restaurant at the Wyndham Orange County is where you can get the Avant Garden, an amethyst-hued creation of Pages Parfait Amour violet liqueur, vodka, lemon juice, and, of course, a flower. So pretty and perfectly befitting of spring.
Haven Gastropub –190 S Glassell Street, Orange, CA 92866
This Old Towne Orange gastropub is known for its expansive craft beer selection, but it’s also a haven for any number of expertly made bar-chef cocktails. Try the Herbal Orange, a blend of Leblon cachaça, Aperol, fresh orange, basil and tarragon simple syrup for $10.
Z’Tejas – 3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
This Southwestern grill at South Coast Plaza has introduced a host of $8.50 spring cocktails using Chambord vodka (yes, vodka): Skinny in Pink, Chambord Ginger Cosmo, Raspberry Lemon Drop ‘Tini, and Skinny Raspberry Lemonade (pictured) with vodka and liqueur, agave nectar, soda water, lemon and a raspberry sugar rim.