Los Angeles Magazine‘s Best of LA 2011 issue is currently out on the newsstands and it’s one that’s not to be missed. Not because I was fortunate enough to be asked to contribute a couple of blurbs to it, hee!, but just because it’s usually the issue you’ll end up referring to for years to come as it becomes your reference guide for finding crucial info like who has the best Scotch selection (Daily Pint) and what’s the best wine bar (Barbrix). Plus every Angeleno should have it on their coffee table, nay, they should have issues spanning back many years in their library. Just sayin’.
I wrote up the blurb for Best Cocktail Punch in Los Angeles (as well as Best Happy Hour — Drago Centro). This of course required that I choose a number of cocktail punches around town and narrow it down to the best. A very difficult task which resulted in many restless nights. Seriously. How could I pick just one? Oh the humanity! I was able to cull my choices down to the following:
In Pasadena, 1886’s fun Champagne Punch with strawberry shrub and champagne and served up in tea pots.
Downtown Cana’s Jitterbug Perfume, a heady mix of jasmine-infused Bulleit 95 rye, Meyer’s Legend 10 year, Luxardo Abano, grapefruit, lime and strawberry.
Also downtown, Villains Tavern’s Osiris Punch with champagne, rye whiskey, hibiscus, mint, citrus, spices and bitters.
In Hollywood, there’s Library Bar’s off-menu Jamaican Waiting Punch with Smith and Cross rum, Batavia Arrack, Meyer lemon peel, sugar, fresh blood orange juice and nutmeg.
Yes, it became very Sophie’s Choice. Each was made by some of the best mixologists in our fine town and all were so tasty but so different from one another. However in the end I chose The Spare Room‘s Late Checkout, a cocktail punch by bartender Naomi Schimek. Not only is it a delicious supersize version of a popular L.A. cocktail, the Medicina Latina, but it came with a very unique experience — board games and/or bowling at the Hollywood Roosevelt’s bar/bowling alley. The venue is really what helped nudged it ahead of its competitors. Where else in Los Angeles can you enjoy a punch bowl with friends in a historic landmark while ruminating over how to get a triple-word score in Scrabble? Love it! Here punch is $60 for a bowl, board games are free and an hour of bowling for up to six friends is $100.
Congrats, Spare Room on winning Best Cocktail Punch in Los Angeles Magazine’s 2011 Best of issue (and my heart)!
Cheap Punch: On a not-so-random note, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper than $60 punch, The Crescent Hotel in Beverly Hills has Punchbowl Happy Hour Mondays through Fridays 4-7pm where you can score a six-person bowl of market-fresh cocktail punch for $30!