West Hollywood: Drinks at ink.
Just when people started referring to bartenders as “mixologists,” bartenders have now proudly reclaimed the word “bartender” in the name of hospitality. And Devon Espinosa, the bar manager at ink. has done just that. With a welcoming smile, Devon will hand you a list or listen to what you like. He does after all refer to himself sometimes as a libations therapist. His cocktails don’t have names but are based on the spirit. I went on opening night and a week later back in September and he has asked me to come back in with a promise there are new cocktails. I’m sure there are but considering I’m late getting this recap out (as well as the meals at ink), I thought it would be nice to contemplate what I did taste.
Bourbon– At the time there were two bourbon cocktails. I went for the one described as more like a Manhattan. Bourbon, Carpano Antica, Fernet Jelnick and All Spice Dram comprised of this cocktail. It was a sweeter, boozier Manhattan and made for easy sippin’ at the bar.
On my second visit, I tried the other bourbon cocktail; bourbon, pineapple and anise. It’s definitely lighter and probably a good way to start an evening. However, I tend to like my drinks strong and boozy at the beginning of the night and then go light for dessert.
Moving on to the tequila and mezcal cocktails, a friend had the Mezcal (with lemon, ginger, clover honey, Angostura bitters) which was smokey and lovely. Another asked for “something with tequila” (pictured above as Dealer’s Choice) and the listed Tequila (serrano, lime, grapefruit, soda).
I tend to list drinks by their spirit first as I was taught by a bartender once but in this case, this cocktail with gin, Aperol, Cardamaro, orange is listed as Aperol. It is Devon’s variation of a Negroni.
The Brandy (figs, mint, lemon) was surprisingly light on the tongue. It must have been the mint and lemon. I thought it’d be heavier with the brandy. I would say this is a good opening cocktail (or my closing cocktail).
I couldn’t try all the cocktails opening night unlike some people so I looked forward to trying more on my next visit. My friend got Gin (Dolin dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, orange zest) and I had the creamy Scotch (lemon, apple cider, egg white, cinnamon). I love my cocktails with egg white/ egg so the Scotch was right up my alley. I also adored the Gin. For those who love Last Words, give ink.’s Gin a try for a brighter, less sweet cocktail. I found I didn’t miss the maraschino at all.
Rye (lemon, Angostura, Peychaud’s, anise) would seem basic but is so not with the layers and complexities built from both bitters and the anise.
I do believe it’s time to go back to try the new cocktails. I see the Rum with house grenadine and Amaro (Cio Ciaro, gin, fernet) as my must try cocktails. I also wouldn’t mind trying the house tonic (with gin, of course). ink. is offering two versions; house and currently passionfruit. They were previously offering lavender. I hope that makes a comeback and I love the smell of lavender.
8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90069 – (323) 651-5866