It’s no secret that I never really liked the cocktails at Freddy Smalls in West L.A. Overly fussy concoctions which tried too hard without really succeeding in tasting good. Thank goodness for the new bar guy. Johan Stein replaced Dave Fleisher back in February and has stripped down the drink list from a “what the hell is that” factor to a straightforward classic style.
Johan hails from places like Sotto and Red Medicine and he described his style, “It’s very simple now. Simple stuff behind the bar: simple syrup, honey syrup, ginger, everything fresh. I’m going to start doing sodas soon. My philosophy is get really good drinks but have them not take forever. I’m not a snob but I want people to drink good stuff.”
The cocktail list for sure reads cleaner and simpler than previous menu. No nonsense where the list of random ingredients are thrown together with no regard for taste. Too mean? Anyway, things are tasting better now. And the fact the cocktails have finally caught up with the food and beer, I may very well be Freddy Smalls’ next Foursquare mayor.
Here are some of the cocktails off the new menu which will be changed up seasonally, along with some of my notes from the hosted tasting.
The above Conejo cocktail was an instant favorite. Spicy but subtle. The lime doesn’t overpower it. I couldn’t really taste the peche but coulc smell a hint of it. So drinkable and lovely.