Los Feliz: You’ll Need All the Drinks at Big Bar

Aaron Alvarez

Big Bar’s Aaron Alvarez

 

 

Big Bar at the Alcove Cafe and Bakery welcomed Aaron Alvarez (Rivabella, Soho House West, etc) as their new bar manager a few months ago. He’s been keeping up the high standards his predecessor Dan Long held. The current menu is Dan’s but be on the look out for Aaron’s and the rest of the team’s drinks soon.

In the meantime, here are all the current drinks. Last year I tried all the drinks on the menu and I had to maintain my personal record (I advise you to get a DD — whether its name is Metro or not).

 

El Gusto

El Gusto

 

We started with the very first drink on the menu, El Gusto. It reminds me of a Michelada with the beer and spices. The mezcal gives it a great kick. I highly recommend this for brunch. Or perhaps happy hour.

El Gusto – Mezcal, mandarina, pomegranate, lime, cerveza, espicey

vegan sliders

vegan sliders

 

All that drinkin’ makes a cocktail writer hungry so we also sampled some of the newer menu items including the vegan sliders. Oh shush you hardcore meat eaters. These were great and I liked the avocado topping. These actually went very well with the El Gusto drink.

Lambretta No. 2

Lambretta No. 2

 

Staying in that same light and refreshing vein, we have the Lambretta No. 2. Instead of sparkling wine or champagne, I liked that this Campari-based drink was topped with tonic water. It made the drink fizzy without dominating the delicate Lillet rose also in the drink.

Lambretta No. 2 – Campari, Lillet rose, lemon, tonic, mint.

bacon gravy poutine

bacon gravy poutine

 

All right, we got the meat eaters back with the bacon gravy poutine. What I love about Big Bar are the enormous portions of the “sides.” These can be shared with you and the whole bar. All right, maybe just you and your drinkin’ buddies. Who likes sharing anyway?

lamb skewers

lamb skewers

 

The lamb skewers were super juicy and went so well with the more aromatic drinks. Plus I enjoyed the potatoes it came with.

Lady Lion Tamer

Lady Lion Tamer

 

Lady Lion Tamer was one of the awesome drinks I had during Valentine’s Day when Big Bar held their annual prom. I’m glad to see it on the regular menu.

Lady Lion Tamer – Jameson Black Barrel, Bercherovka, milk thistle honey, orange oil.

Cockney Sparrow

Cockney Sparrow

 

If there’s a drink I’d get over and over again, it’d be the Cockney Sparrow. It’s a great drink to have before a meal as it’ll help open up your appetite. Although it’s a gin drink, the champagne keeps it light and the rose tea is just lovely.

Cockney Sparrow – Beefeater 24 gin, rose tea, lemon, cucumber, champagne

steak and portobello mushrooms skewers

steak and portobello mushrooms skewers

 

Our group went crazy over the steak and portobello mushroom skewers. These babies are super tender and perfect to snack on at the bar.

Alabama Slammer Fizz

Alabama Slammer Fizz

 

There’s a trend towards improving 70s-90s drinks with better booze. Big Bar’s take on an Alabama Slammer is a good one with fresh juice. It’s not too sweet and a fun patio drink. Luckily Big Bar has a nice patio.

Alabama Slammer Fizz – Rock N Rye, amaretto, sloe gin, orange juice

Dos Semantes

Dos Semantes

 

Sino tequila is interesting as it’s aged in Irish whiskey casks imparting a sweet edge to the tequila. Adding to the Dos Semantes, the cocktail oozes sexy spice with the ancho chili-liqueur Ancho Reyes. To further amp the flavor profile, add in the Italian cardoon amaro, Cardamaro. Spanish brandy gives it even more backbone. It’s not a cocktail to be ignored.

Dos Semantes – Sino tequila, Spanish brandy, Cardamaro, Ancho Reyes

Bananaquiri

Banaquiri

 

Recently I talked about various pina coladas around town. But let’s not ignore the long-time island favorite, the daiquiri! Big Bar makes a banana flavored one that doesn’t scream frozen daiquiri machine. It’s really nice and I’d call it my dessert drink.

 

Banaquiri – aged island rum, banana 2 ways, lime

 

Kentucky Belle

Kentucky Belle

 

Are horse race drinks appropriate year-round? If they were (and even if they’re not), get the Kentucky Belle. It’s like a classic julep but with extra minty flavor from the aloe liqueur Chareau. Eyeball that pretty silver julep cup, won’t you?

Kentucky Belle – 10-year Kentucky bourbon, Chareau, lime, ginger, mint

Don's Treehouse

Don’s Treehouse

 

Back to island time, head over to Don’s Treehouse with its “secret” blend of rums. It’s a bit mai tai in flavor profile but with a different citrus twist. I love the grapefruit in it but grapefruit is my favorite citrus.

Don’s Treehouse – secret blend of rums, lime, almond, vanilla, grapefruit

The Sun King

The Sun King

 

Another great patio drink would be the Sun King. Right after my crush with the grapefruit in Don’s Treehouse, my citrus love has become a full-fledged love affair. This apertif is another great pre-dinner or brunch drink.

The Sun King – Kina L’Avion, gentian, grapefruit, lemon, spritz

Mo-Chi-Chi

Mo-Chi-Chi

 

I would call the Mo-Chi-Chi a neo-tiki drink and quite modern as well with the addition of Amontillado sherry. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with tropical/tiki drinks because they’re so sweet but this one is a winner because the sherry keeps it relatively “dry.”

 Mo-Chi-Chi – real coconut infusion, pineapple, lime, Amontillado sherry, crushed ice

Now get yourself a driver and try them all yourself!

Big Bar at Alcove

1927 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027 — (323) 644-0100
 

© The Minty 2014

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