The Most Creative Cocktails in Los Angeles and Where to Find Them

L.A.’s one-of-a-kind cocktail scene thinks outside of the box.

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Los Angeles is a true hub for creativity. From film to art to fashion to food, even L.A.’s one-of-a-kind cocktail scene thinks outside of the box. In addition to utilizing unique ingredients, some of the city’s best standout bars and restaurants have gone above and beyond with eye-catching presentations, unheard-of flavor combinations and innovative techniques. Tired of your basic martini or margarita? These are the most creative cocktails in L.A.—and where to find them.

Sky’s the Limit at Mr. T

  • 953 N Sycamore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Prefer savory over sweet? The Sky’s the Limit at Mr. T will take your tastebuds on a journey. This clarified cocktail is made with tequila, basil Eau de Vie, ginger, lemongrass, galangal, Thai chili, fresh citrus and tomato juice, resulting in a potent flavor combo that is unlike any other. Pair this vibrant libation with the crispy lumpia, Japanese crudo and lemon pasta. The Cantonese Branzino is another smash hit that is cooked to perfection and served alongside market radishes and kohlrabi.

Sky’s the Limit. Mr. T

Mezcal & Rice at Asterid by Ray Garcia

  • 141 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Located in DTLA, Asterid by Ray Garcia serves California-fresh cuisine in a sleek and modern atmosphere. Though you’ll find plenty of innovation on the food menu, the cocktail program is equally as impressive. For a smoky yet delicate drink, order the Mezcal & Rice. Legendario Domingo Mezcal is balanced with a pomegranate and cacao vermouth. The toasted rice is the star ingredient, yielding a one-of-a-kind flavor profile that finishes with notes of cinnamon.

Mezcal & Rice. Asterid 1

Provence Martini at Camphor

  • 923 E 3rd St #109, Los Angeles, CA 90013

If you’re dedicated to a classic martini, the Provence Martini at Camphor will blow you away. For starters, the Haku Vodka is washed with olive oil and infused with herbs de Provence, resulting in both a smoother texture and taste. The infusion process requires hours of stirring and straining so that the vodka is completely clear and free of residual oil. However, the true stand-out component of this martini is its sidecar presentation. The silver tray it is served on screams glamour, and you can dress your drink with olives, peppers or a pickled onion.

Provence Martini. Camphor

P-Town Boxing Club at Thunderbolt

  • 1263 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Thunderbolt is one of the best cocktail bars in Los Angeles. While there are plenty of creative cocktails to choose from, you can’t go wrong with the P-Town Boxing Club, a Filipino-inspired Old Fashioned that boasts bold flavor concentration. The coconut-washed rye sets the scene for a more tropical take on this whiskey-based cocktail, and is complemented by fresh flavors of pandan. Before serving, it is given a small spritz of bitters.

P-Town Boxing Club. SHELBY MOORE

Machine Response at Death & Co.

  • 818 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Looking for a romantic, dimly-lit cocktail bar in the heart of DTLA? Death & Co. is known for its sultry speakeasy vibes and award-winning cocktails, one of the most unique being the Machine Response. Categorized as bright and confident, the Machine Response is a blend of Hibiki Harmony Japanese Whisky, ‘Hi & Hello’ Pineapple Kasu Shochu and Nigori sake. The pineapple shochu is complemented by fresh lemon and the unexpected addition of coconut yogurt.

Machine Response. Death & Co.

Dirty Dashi at Uchi

  • 9001 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 101, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Innovation is at the forefront of Uchi’s priorities. This elevated sushi spot has mastered the art of taking something simple and classic and turning it into a work of art—including the cocktails. If a dirty martini is your go-to drink, Uchi’s Dirty Dashi is a must-try. This savory cocktail packs a major umami punch thanks to the use of shiro dashi. Made from a broth base of fish, shiro dashi has a strong flavor that is enhanced by ingredients like bonito flakes and kelp. The house-made Dirty Dashi mix is shaken vigorously with vodka before being strained into a chilled coupe that is garnished with a nori salt rim.

Dirty Dashi. Uchi

Cereal Killa at Denea’s Diner

  • 550 Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Between its retro ambiance and comforting cuisine, Denea’s Diner has it all. Located at the historic Delphi Hotel, evening cocktails at Denea’s Diner call for branching out and exploring diner-inspired creations. As the name suggests, the Cereal Killa uses Fruity Pebbles alongside gin, vermouth and Aperol, resulting in a sweet and vivacious cocktail. The glass is garnished with cereal dust, adding texture and a little extra sugar. Since breakfast is served all day, you can enjoy the Cereal Killa with your favorite breakfast foods, like pancakes or French toast.

Cereal Killa. Denea's Diner

Saltie Martini at Saltie Girl

  • 8615 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Nothing beats a classic martini on Sunset Boulevard…expect a classic martini with caviar. The Saltie Martini is a signature cocktail at Saltie Girl that uses premium caviar to fit the restaurant's seafood-centric theme. Served sidecar style with your choice of vodka or gin, this timeless libation features a skewer of green olives and pickled onion, all of which are topped with generous dollops of opulent black caviar. 

Saltie Martini. Mike Cotrone

The RRR at Baar Baar

  • 705 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Baar Baar is the ultimate place for modern Indian cuisine in DTLA, with an artsy ambiance and killer cocktails. The cocktail program ranges from seasonal signatures inspired by Bollywood to innovative takes on timeless classics. The RRR is a fan-favorite for milk punch lovers. Since it is milk-washed, the RRR has all of the flavor with very little bite. It’s made with Old Monk rum, a sweet crème de cacao and chocolate, and finished off with coffee bitters. This is a great drink to enjoy with dessert or as a nightcap.

The RRR. Neil John Burger

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