Bottoms Up

Start 2023 with our guide to imbibe.
The Roger Room


Dirty, dry, stirred, with a twist—here are some of the best places in town to sip and savor a martini, whichever way you take it.

World’s Best: Master mixologist Julian Cox took inspiration from the iconic Dukes London—recognized as home to one of the world’s best martinis—when creating this signature “world’s best” cocktail for Fanny’s. “The idea was to make a martini that all types of drinkers would enjoy,” Cox says. “The reason it’s so great is it’s made from the best ingredients: Kástra Elión vodka from the distillation of olives from Greece and Ki No Bi gin from Japan with the world’s best botanicals. We use Dolin dry vermouth from France, and briny Lustau Fino sherry from Spain. It’s super chilled right before serving in a Japanese sake glass to keep the contents as cold as possible, and the drink gets a mist of sel gris and yuzu.”

Dirty: The martini inspiration at Gunsmoke in Hollywood comes from the early ’50s, when a three-martini lunch was a thing. This version comes in a 3-ounce cocktail glass, with a chilled sidecar, made with Smoke Lab Indian vodka and equal parts bianco and dry vermouths, and the result is dry with a slight sweetness. It’s garnished with dashi olive—created by chef Brandon Kida—with kombu, bonito flake, and shiitake mushroom for a brine that intensifies the savoriness of the olives.

Olive Oil Washed: Step up to the bar at Superba Hollywood for a martini with vodka, local California olive oil, and orange bitters. The Kitchen Sink Martini from Workshop Kitchen + Bar in Hollywood is made with olive oil–washed The Botanist Islay dry gin, Dolin blanc vermouth, orange bitters, and a touch of edible glitter with a sidecar and Castelvetrano olives. Matt Landes, founder and CEO of the Cocktail Academy, recommends The Olive Orchard Martini, an upgraded dirty martini. It includes olive oil–washed vodka and oregano-infused dry vermouth, garnished with an oregano sprig and a dollop of extra virgin olive oil.

Decadence: The Truffle Martini from The Roger Room on La Cienega uses Luksusowa vodka infused with black winter truffle, sea salt, and shaved black truffle on top.

Simple Classic: Try Musso & Frank in Hollywood or Smoke House in Burbank.

Interesting Twist: The Maybourne Bar in Beverly Hills offers the Bali H’ai with Suntory Haku vodka, OKA Ginjo Cherry Bouquet sake, and lychee.

Buzzworthy: The Espresso Martini at Thunderbolt near Angelino Heights uses nitro cold brew from Counter Culture Coffee.

NEFT Vodka

New in Town: Crafted in Austria with non-GMO rye grains, NEFT vodka comes in cute, mini black-and-white barrels and can be found at Total Wine, Mission Wine & Spirits, and Remedy Liquor.

How to olive oil wash your vodka at home

The Cocktail Academy recommends 750ml vodka and 150ml extra virgin olive oil. Combine in a freezer-safe container and let sit at room temperature for five days to infuse, then place the container in the freezer. Once the oil has solidified, scrape it away and discard.



We’ve come a long way in the 150+ years since Jack Daniels was founded, and now nearly every country seems to have a highly touted whiskey or bourbon.

Old Forester predates Jack and is now owned by the same umbrella company (Brown-Forman). Produced on Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville since 1870, it remains the only active original distillery and the first bottled bourbon. Old Forester is featured in the house old fashioned at Bar Moruno and neighboring Casita Del Campo in Silver Lake, and bottles are priced reasonably from well under $100, apart from the collectible Birthday Bourbon for $1,699.

Another well-priced bartender favorite, Four Roses bourbon has a diverse portfolio with four options, from small batch at 104 proof to single barrel at 100 proof. Buy bottles locally at Fair Oaks Cigar Lounge or Gerlach’s, and find it in cocktails at The Blind Donkey, Kings Row, Nick’s, Plate 38, Great Maple, and Houston’s.

For a California farm-based brand derived from sweet potatoes and Merced rye, try one of Corbin Cash’s blended bottles or liqueurs, which you can pick up at Mission Wine & Spirits.

Another top brand, produced on the grounds of a family-owned castle in Ireland—that also holds rock concerts featuring bands like the Rolling Stones, U2, and Harry Styles—Slane Irish whiskey is made with a traditional Irish pot still and a blend aged in three different casks. It can be found in creative cocktails at The Mermaid or Seven Grand in DTLA, Alcove Café in Los Feliz, and Forman’s Whiskey Tavern in Toluca Lake, or purchase at Showcase Wine & Spirits or Remedy Liquor.


Kikori, one of the most prominent Japanese rice whiskeys in the game, is owned by Ann Soh Woods. You can find creative libations with the brand at Foothill in a cocktail called Sensei and Parkway Grill in the Kyushu, or on the extensive whiskey list at Alexander’s Steakhouse.

Learn More: Shauna Der of The Minty hosts whiskey tastings and cocktail classes at local venues, and whiskey clubs in L.A. She holds a level 2 diploma from Wine and Spirit Education Trust and is trained in pre-Prohibition-style cocktails.

Bottled Cocktails: New bottled cocktails by Knox & Dobson, including an old fashioned and rye Manhattan, were created by Pasadena locals Rob Levy, Leslie Levy, and Peter Lloyd Jones. With two servings per bottle, the box set of four makes a great holiday gift. Find them at Everson Royce, Bar Keeper, and Highland Park Wine.

Ditch the Cans: Established in Milan, NIO Cocktails are an Italian premium beverage brand encased in travel-friendly, slim packets. Thanks to FIFA World Cup champion Italian soccer legend Alessandro Del Piero, who also owns N10 restaurant in Beverly Grove, these ready-to-drink cocktails, including a whiskey sour, will look chic on your bar cart or stuffed in holiday stockings.


Champagne and Sparkling for Under $50

We all love to pop a cork over the holidays, but that bottle of celebratory fizz doesn’t always need to break the bank.

Ian Asbury, owner-founder of natural wine shop and restaurant Good Clean Fun in Downtown Los Angeles, recommends the following trio of bubbly for your holiday plans.

“I like to start a little bit classic. A perfect option is Domaine Gross Cremant d’Alsace 2019” [$35 at Good Clean Fun]. It’s got Riesling and Auxerrois grapes and a nice, medium body. This is the perfect bottle to get nice and cold and take to your family or friend’s holiday party, then bring out to the yard and show off your saber skills!”

He also recommends the Absentee Winery Huck 2020 ($27). “This is a Carignan grape and has some wonderful acid and minerality to it. The secret with this is that rosé bubbles are quite possibly one of the best pairings for all foods at the dinner table. It will go with literally anything and everything, making you look like a pairing pro.”

To really get the party started, he suggests Bojo do Luar Lou 38 Pet Nat 2021 ($28). “Loureiro is the grape and this bad boy/girl/they/them is from Portugal. I like to call this the Pikachu of wine—it’s lively, electric, and perfect for getting people away from the dinner table straight to the dance floor!”

Other Bubbly Options:

Graham Beck Brut Rose

Vara Silverhead Brut NV ($25) is a sparkling release from acclaimed winemaker Laurent Gruet that blends Chardonnay and Syrah from the Ancient Lakes area of Washington with Xarel-lo and Macabeo varietals from the Penedès wine region of Spain.

Graham Beck is South Africa’s leading sparkling wine for the holidays and well-known worldwide for Cap Classique and producing high-quality wine at an approachable price point ($20–$35). All of its Cap Classiques are food friendly. For a bit of trivia, they were poured at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration—but you can find them locally at Bodevi Wine & Espresso Bar on San Fernando Road.

Brut Zero (aka Ultra Brut) is a rare and unique style of wine made with zero sugar, crafted in exceptional vintages from only the highest-quality cuvée juice, and it’s perfect with seafood and salads. You can try the versatile Brut Rosé or the Bliss Nectar, a golden-hued bubbly with hints of butterscotch, honey, and praline that pairs well with desserts and cheeses. Blanc de Blancs is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes for rich, creamy, fruity aromas.


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