Drago Centro’s Spring Cocktail Menu: Smoky Negroni, Tomato-less Bloody Mary, Floral Vesper

— by Caroline on Crack

Jaymee Mandeville by Caroline on Crack

Drago Centro bartender Jaymee Mandeville and her 20 cocktails. There are 20, right? Hic!

The new Drago Centro spring cocktail menu created by bar manager/mixologist Jaymee Mandeville takes the downtown Italian restaurant’s cocktail program in a new direction. Namely, away from former beverage director Michael Shearin’s sweettooth.

After Shearin’s departure, Jaymee was free to explore savory and bitter ingredients, and in turn has created something for every palate. Looking for something complex and with depth, try the Night and the City a “blood-less” Mary. Bitter fiends will like the Tradgard, and those with a sweettooth will love the honeyed Yellow Jacket Fever.

But if you really want to see what else the list has to offer, here it is in its entirety with a few of my random tasting notes I jotted during a hosted tasting.

Airstream Libation: Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila, R. Jelínek Fernet, toasted coconut infused demerara, fresh lime, kaffir lime leaves, egg white

Airstream Libation by Caroline on Crack

Airstream Libation is light, well balanced with a nice subtle hit of kaffir lime. Tequila is very faint, back of the throat. Great for those who fear tequila.

Cool Revival: Rittenhouse rye, Cynar, Yuzu, cucumber, with lemon and dill meringue

Cool Revival by Caroline on Crack

Cool Revival is my fave. Top with the dill meringue and lemon tastes like dessert then you break through to the cocktail.

Greetings From Xanadu: Banks 5 island rum, Pama, Java Juice, pineapple juice, orange juice

Greetings From Xanadu by Caroline on Crack

Greetings From Xanadu would be a great breakfast cocktail because of the hint of coffee. At first the coffee comes on strong but it settles down when you let the cocktail sit a bit. Gives the fruit some edginess.

Nebbia Rossa: Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Campari, Bittermens Citron Sauvage, Dolin Blanc

Nebbia Rossa by Caroline on Crack

Nebbia Rossa is basically a smoky Negroni.

Night and the City: Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Bittermens Hellfire, Miracle Mile Candy Cap mushroom bitters, heirloom tomato shrub, black pepper and squid ink syrup, fresh horseradish

Night and the City by Caroline on Crack

Night and the City is a Bloody Mary without the tomatoes. And sure it has an unappealing resemblance to dirty dish water and a crazy list of ingredients that may scare off neophytes but despite all that it’s the most popular cocktail on the menu. An instant fave with its complexity and depth.

Shotgun Wedding: Laird’s Bonded apple brandy, prosecco, lemon juice, Granny Smith apples, maple sugar

Shotgun Wedding by Caroline on Crack

Shotgun Wedding, despite its list of ingredients, doesn’t taste like a maple apple pie. Rather it’s light, effervescent and…not apple-y at all. Was m’OK.

Stepchild: Black Grouse blended scotch, cardamaro, kumquat cordial, orange juice

Stepchild by Caroline on Crack

Stepchild is a sweeter cocktail and its combination of ingredients amazingly gives it a hint of chocolate.

Trädgård: Karlsson’s Gold vodka, Cocchi Americano, Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters, lemon juice, chives

Tradgard by Caroline on Crack

OK, Tradgard wasn’t my favorite. I found its bitterness overwhelming. The chives lend a savoriness to the grapefruit but I found the cocktail astringent.

Ver La Luz Del Día: Kappa pisco, Lillet Blanc, Hangar Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, basil

Ver La Luz Del Dia by Caroline on Crack

Ver La Luz Del Dia is like a floral Vesper. Subtle perfume but hard-core and serious. Don’t be fooled by its delicate appearance, it’s a “sit down and STFU” drink. Not a bad thing.

Yellow Jacket Fever: Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, yellow chartreuse, chamomile infused honey, black peppercorns

Drago Centro's Yellow Jacket Fever by Caroline on Crack

Yellow Jacket Fever is sweet but kickass.

Drago Centro
525 S Flower Street
Los Angeles, California 90071 (map)
(213) 228-8998
Facebook: Drago Centro
Twitter: @DragoCentro