2013 was a fun year for drinking in LA. Let's talk about the individual spirits and ingredients first, and then the best of the Los Angeles bar scene.
I got that Cynar money! I got that Cynar money! From a Little Italy to a Cynar Julep, this artichoke liqueur was ubiquitous for me in 2013. Of course I enjoyed it as a shot as well. Despite its vegetal flavor, Cynar possesses a lovely sweetness and lower alcohol content. (This makes it an ideal shot for a family meal if you intend to actually slow down.)
Favorite Recurring Event
Monday Guest Bartender Series at Eveleigh
The back patio of Eveleigh was a weekly home to numerous bar luminaries, as large crowds of mostly beverage-industry folks enjoyed the rotating special menu. Various brands and spirits were showcased each week, and Ol' Man Winter (Dave Kupchinsky) was a difficult man to defeat in his Americano chugging challenge.
Favorite Piece Of Booze Writing
The Family Tree Of Bourbon Whiskey
This isn't quite a long piece of prose, but Colin Spoelman and David Haskell's chart in GQ Magazine of the family tree of bourbon was exceptional.
Cocktail Of The Year
There was no single drink that stood up over the course of the year, but this was the one that I kept ordering everywhere. Boston's Daiquiri Time Out (D.T.O.) made its way to LA, and found a natural home among the bar industry, who often ordered daiquiris anyway. Having had my fair share over the years, in 2013 I switched it up and started ordering gimlets instead. Many high-proof gins arrived on the market, such as Plymouth's navy strength gin, and some gins were now finding distribution on the West Coast, such as Perry's Tot.
Bartender Of The Year
Danielle Crouch (Caña)
Danielle exudes all the charm and wit of your favorite local bartender, as well as the ability to delve into cocktail and spirit nerdery, if you so choose. Danielle's unwavering warmth is shared by the rest of Caña's young staff, and she's provided the bar a steady hand at the helm.
Bar of The Year
Last year, Eveleigh shared this honor with Sadie, but this year, it stands alone at the top. This is the first time I've done a repeat, but Eveleigh is worth it. The vibe is hip and energetic without feeling too frenzied. Its location on the Sunset Strip sounds off-putting, but you're rewarded with a fantastic view looking down across West Hollywood. On warm evenings (and last year, there were plenty), the dining area's retractable roof was open, and Eveleigh felt like the swankiest summer cabin in the world.