DTLA: New Cocktails at Rivera

Oaxacan Piece Pipe

Last Friday, Jennie from the Happy Hour Tour and I were making the rounds in DTLA. We started out at Bar | Kitchen (check out her great review here) and headed over to Cana where we got a sneak peak of the new cocktails that started this week. I thought we could do one more stop (crawl…tour…madcap adventure) at Rivera, one of my usual lunch spots.

Barrel Strawberry

Barrel Strawberry

It was 9:30 p.m. so not quite time for their late night menu which starts at 10:30 p.m. so we ordered my favorite mussels to nibble on while we enjoyed some cocktails from the new list. Julian Cox, the Beverage Director, started at Rivera and has a mini-empire serving his cocktails around town including Playa, Sotto and Picca.

Cobble Hill

Jennie started with the Barrel Strawberry (rhum, fresh strawberry, lemon, cinnamon, demera syrup) while I asked between the Oaxacan Piece Pipe (Chichicapa mezcal, rye, black pepper, cumin syrup, dandelion and burdock bitters, grapefruit essence), To Norway with Love (Linie aquavit, reposado tequila, Italian vermouth, orange peel) or Friends with Benefits (Single Village mezcal, Irish whiskey, French vermouth, Benedictine) [c’mon…the name alone!!??]. Our bartender Tom suggested I go with the Oaxacan Piece Pipe (damn, I forgot to ask why “piece” instead of “peace”).

Jennie loved hers so much, she had another. I enjoyed mine but started looking through the menu again, this time zeroing in Cobble Hill (rye, Amaro Montanegro, dry vermouth, bruised cucumber). I have been on a Manhattan (really, Brooklyn) variation kick and this Cobble Hill was originally created by Sam Ross of Milk and Honey. He thought of it as a summertime Manhattan by floating cucumber slices on top. Rivera expands on that by gently bruising cucumber.

Greenpoint

Late night was finally upon us. This menu emphasizes more classic cocktails. Should I try another Manhattan variation I’ve never had such as the Bensonhurst (rye, dry vermouth, maraschino, Cynar) or should I go with one I know is delicious like a Greenpoint (rye, yellow chartreuse, sweet vermouth, bitters)? I went with the Greenpoint since I felt the Bensonhurst was a bit too similar to the Cobble Hill. I’ll have to come back for the Bensonhurst and the late night menu eats. The tamali with pork short rib and mushrooms sound great along with the pato (duck confit leg).

We had a great time at the bar and I can’t wait to try  more of the new cocktails. For those worried Rivera cocktail “classics” are gone, they pay homage to faves like Blood Sugar Sex Magic (my fave- rye, red pepper, agave, basil) or the Barbacoa (choice of tequila or mezcal, chipotle, ginger, hickory smoked jerky) . I saw so many Barbaacoas made that night, I wondered if they would run out of the jerky.

 

Rivera Restaurant

1050 South Flower Street., Los Angeles, CA 90015-5100 – (213) 749-1460

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