Chasing LA's Best 'tail
With glittery, spotlight-grabbing sister city (not to mention birthplace of the cocktail) New York so often getting the lion’s share of national mixology glory, Varnish Bar has from the outset been hailed a gloriously fresh breath of Los Angeles bar-dom air, and unofficial torch-bearer for So Cal’s long-awaited cocktail resurgence.
After a stellar three-year, nomination-spangled run, Cedd Moses’ tucked-away (conveniently behind his restaurant Cole’s) downtown den finally garnered the critical acclaim to match its unceasing popularity, by taking home the title of Best American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail’s 2012 Spirited Awards held in July.
When you consider the team at the helm – including Milk & Honey’s Sasha Petraske and perpetual Bartender of the Year nominee Eric Alperin – the only real surprise is that it’s taken this long for Varnish to receive top honours.
While the term ‘modern speakeasy’ is tossed around casually to the point of ubiquity these days, Varnish’s top-shelf spirits, low-lit ambience, moody Jazz soundtrack and mixology pedigree make it one sip-spot truly deserving of the moniker (even though they are the first to dismiss it).
Signature blends like the Palma Fizz – a refreshing blend of vodka, lime juice, ginger syrup, rose water and soda – and the whisky, vermouth and Absinthe-based Remember the Maine never fail to impress, or why not test their award-winning mettle with a ‘Bartender’s Choice’ punt. Santé!