Sunday, April 8, 2012

Night and the City and other Spring Cocktails at Drago Centro

Jaymee Mandeville has presided over the cocktail program at Drago Centro for two years, but recently her partner in libations, Drago Centro Beverage Director Michael Shearin, left the restaurant.  The newly launched Spring cocktail menu is her first where she had truly complete control over her seasonal cocktail offerings and this list may be her best yet.  It includes several collaborations with her fellow bartender Jen Len.  Mandeville hosted a preview tasting of the list and while there are a number of delicious choices on the list, the highlight of the menu is the Night and the City.

The Night and the City is made with Hayman's Old Tom Gin, Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub, Miracle Mile Candy Cap Mushroom Bitters, house-made heirloom tomato shrub, plack pepper and squid ink syrup and fresh horseradish.  This take on a Bloody Mary transcends the genre with the amazing Candy Cap bitters from Louis Anderman's local Miracle Mile Bitters. The savory element in the bitters melds with the spice from the Hellfire shrub, which Mandeville described as more of a tincture, and the acidity in Mandeville's tomato shrub all carried on the base of the distinct sweet and juniper flavor of the Old Tom Gin.  The pepper on the rim and the horseradish in the glass complete the unique combination.  A pickled watermelon radish garnish might be gilding the lily but in this case it is simply the cherry on top of an irresistible cocktail.

My other favorite on the menu is the Nebbia Rossa (above), an original variation on the Negroni using Mezcal instead of Gin, made with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Campari, Bittermens Citron Sauvage, Dolin Blanc Vermouth.  The mezcal adds a smoky note to the cocktail and the grapefruit liqueur pairs nicely with both the mezcal and the bitter campari.  A stirred refreshing drink that is an excellent way to welcome the warm Spring weather to Los Angeles.

Other highlights on the new list also include the Cool Revival, made with Rittenhouse Rye, Cynar, yuzu, cucumber, lemon and dill meringue (below) and the Ver la Luz del Dia which is a pisco and Lillet cocktail that has a strong basil element and an attractive triple peal garnish.

Cool Revival

Ver La Luz Del Dia

The garnishes this season are more ambitious than on previous Drago cocktail menus and include coffee beans and honeycomb among others.  I recommend you sit at the bar and place yourself in Jaymee's hands. You can't go wrong.  Plus you can munch on bar bites such as the smoked salmon, which is a steal at only $5.  All cocktails on the seasonal list are $12.

Drago Centro: 525 S. Flower St. | 213.228.8998 |

No comments:

Post a Comment