Drago Centro Serves Up Amazing Cocktail Menu (and Bar Food Too)


The revival of Downtown Los Angeles continues, particularly as it pertains to great bars and mixology. Making a mark of its own is Drago Centro, which unveiled its Spring cocktail menu a few weeks ago with a media-comped tasting session at its bar. When I received the invite for this event, my eyes nearly fell out of my head. Don’t worry though — all ocular function has been retained. Still, the cocktail menu that came with the email was a sight to behold. I wanted to try each and every one of the twelve or so libations on the menu — a first for me.

Crafted by perhaps my new favorite bartender of all time Jaymee Mandeville, I can assure you these beverages rock. Let’s take a looksie, shall we?

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Make Your Own Shamrock Shake!


Crazy as it might sound, I’d never tasted one of McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes prior to last year. I can’t say that I was totally won over by it, but I know many people have been, and now comes this glorious and probably obvious news: you can make a Shamrock Shake at home!

According to Kelsey Banfield of Babble.com (by way of Yahoo), there is a recipe out there that comes thisclose to replicating the McDonald’s original.

Recipe after the jump. Also, please note that you will probably kick yourself for not being able to figure it out on your own.

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Mixology 101 Serves Sweet Cocktails At The Los Angeles Farmer’s Market


Los Angeles’s Farmer’s Market at Fairfax and Third just received a healthy dose of booze. Mixology, to be specific. The airy new bar Mixology 101 opened up this week, ready to serve a lengthy list of cocktails (over forty at last count) as well as beer, wine, spirits, and various bites. Steered by acclaimed bartender Salvatore Calabrese (known affectionately as “The Maestro”), the airy watering hole — located up a flight of stairs adjacent to Sur La Table — offers pleasant views of The Grove and The Farmer’s Market, and while gazing upon Zara or Banana Republic might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the space is actually a nice hideout from the masses of slowly-ambling shoppers down below. For some, that hideout might be necessary because, let’s face it: The Grove is somewhat awful. Packs of tourists, annoying teenagers, slowly-moving confused people — it can be a disaster. Lord knows anyone who visits needs a stiff drink or two. But will Mixology 101 be the place for that? Or will it fall in line with all the other restaurants and bars at The Grove: average and overpriced.

Last week, I was invited to a media-comped preview event for Mixology 101 where I was allowed to sample some of the bar’s signature cocktails (as well as a few bites from the new restaurant next door, Planet Dailes). Pictures and impressions after the jump…

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Tequila Adventures at Soho House


It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged about cocktails (and it’s been an even hotter minute since I stated a blog by saying “It’s been a hot minute…”). Nevertheless, I’m here to buck the trend. Last night, my friend IndianJones and I attended a “tasting bout” sponsored by Tequila Herrandura and UrbanDaddy at Los Angeles’ Soho House. The event was simple: four mixologists battled it out for cocktail supremacy in front of an esteemed panel of judges, with each barkeep enduring at least two rounds of competition. First they had to serve up a signature cocktail. Then they had to whip up as many margaritas as possible under three minutes. Winner advanced to a final round that involved incorporating chocolate into a tequila drink. Fun times all around.

Of course, while the competition was fun to watch, it merely was an excuse to enjoy some tasty tequila (shots were abundant) and make new friends. In the end, master mixologist Steve Livigni took home the title belt, much to the delight of the many boozy onlookers. I didn’t get a chance to try any of Livigni’s cocktails, but I can assure you I more than made up for it with a variety margaritas, shots, and other assorted libations. A few random pictures of the event after the jump…

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VIDEO: Bartender Does The Coolest Thing These Old People Have Ever Seen

There are many things I can’t do. There are far more that I can’t. The above video ranks in the latter category. Watch as a bartender manages to pour an handful of drinks all at once, much to the amazement of his blue-haired crowd. Very cool stuff (except for the annoying bell that sounds during the entire feat).]

Via The Daily What

THE QUAFF: Ginger Cilantro Mule Edition


Last week, my dearest friend Meeshie visited me here in Los Angeles, and she absolutely insisted that we make a cocktail (I was not very hard to persuade). I handed her my favorite cocktail book, Organic, Shaken and Stirred by Paul Abercrombie and told her to pick out a recipe. After some casual browsing, Meeshie decided on our beverage of the evening: the Ginger Cilantro Mule.

A variation on the classic Moscow Mule, the GCM (as I like to call it) is all about the refreshing play of ginger and lime, but unlike any other “mule,” I’ve tried, this one features not vodka, not gin, but rather TEQUILA. Color me intrigued…

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A Look Inside Bourbon & Branch

Behind the Drink: The $13 Cocktail from Liquor.com on Vimeo.

Liquor.com recently posed an intriguing question that I’m sure many of us have pondered at one point or another: why must a cocktail cost $13? (heck, come to LA and prepare yourself for the $16 libation) Drinks aren’t always cheap, but the above video (shot at mixology mecca Bourbon & Branch) reveals what those extra dollars go towards — assuming it’s a good bar…

How To Pub Crawl for 12 Hours in Downtown LA

A spicy margarita from Las Perlas, left, and the view from Perch, right.

This past weekend, a group of us here in Los Angeles trekked to Downtown LA to engage in a lengthy and enjoyable pub crawl that lasted for just about twelve hours. Amazingly, we managed to keep our facilities about us, which was perfect since we then could appreciate the varied and eclectic watering holes we ambled into over the course of the day.

For those looking to make an excursion out of Downtown, definitely take notes. And also remember that we just barely scratched the surface…

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THE QUAFF: Ginger Cocktail Showdown


Recently, I purchased the book Left Coast Libations, which proudly culls cocktail recipes from a wide swath of mixologists in Los Angeles (way too under-represented), San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. I absolutely loved the concept of the book — finally, I could emulate cocktails from The Roger Room here in LA or Bourbon and Branch up in SF. Too bad that nearly every recipe employs amazingly esoteric ingredients; so much so that for the past several months, the book has collected dust on my shelf, occasionally migrating to my coffee table where I would toy with the idea of making one of the recipes. Finally, this past weekend, I declared to my cohort Sly that we had to finally delve into Left Coast Libations. I ordered her to select a recipe, and after many minutes of leafing and perusing, she finally chose not one but two options, both ginger-centric. And so the ginger showdown was born.

Sly and I immediately tromped off to the supermarket to fetch supplies (including a flashy new bottle of Canton) and then an hour an a half later (we got sidetracked by an impromptu stop at a foot massage place), we were ready to go ginger crazy. Results after the jump…

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Sneak Peek of Mohawk Bend in Echo Park


Last night I was lucky enough to attend a sneak peek of the new vegan-friendly gastropub Mohawk Bend in Echo Park. The spot comes to us courtesy of the people behind Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank and occupies a space that once housed the Ramona Theater on Sunset Blvd. That famous Vaudeville space is now gone, but some of its walls remain in the beautifully designed (Spacecraft, natch) venue.

Mohawk Bend doesn’t open until the end of the month, but after the jump, check out pics and early impressions of the food and drink…

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