Monday, April 22, 2024

Essential cocktails to drink during Long Beach Last Call

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As we push toward celebrating Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call—a 10-day, 15-event celebration of our city’s rich bar culture and the people who make it happen—we will offer a series of features that highlight everything from our most stellar cocktail programs at restaurants to to the very events occurring (like this feature on The Attic Long Beach)… All in order to lift a glass to a social and economic driver that rarely receives the love its deserves: our bar industry. For more information on Long Beach Last Call, tap here.

We have a lot going for our inaugural Long Beach Last Call celebration but it isn’t, of course, just about the events. It’s also about the incredible, for-this-event-only creations that some of our city’s most talented mixologists have concocted that also deserve some spotlight.

Here are some personal faves of mine that I hope you try throughout our 10-day celebration.


Marlena’s “Alexander”

5854 E. Naples Plaza

What kind of cocktail?
The sexy, silky, dreamy, dessert-y drink that your creepy uncle would call a “panty dropper”—and to be honest, all of Dave Castillo’s drinks for Last Call are worth ordering as he explores No. 3 Gin across three classic iterations.

Alexander: No. 3 Gin | Creme de Cacao | Cream | Nutmeg


Panxa Cocina’s “Matcha to Your Own Beat”

3937 E. Broadway

What kind of cocktail? The largest-collection-of-agave-spirits one. Yes, that’s right, Panxa is home to well over 130 bottles of agave spirits and there are two ways to experience it: Go to our private tasting where you’ll have some food and get to taste over 20 iterations from eight different distilleries for $30. Or through a cocktail—like this wonderful fruity-meets-earthy mixture from cocktail master Bryce Kaesman.

Matcha to Your Own Beat: Tequila Ocho Blanco | Raspberry | Orgeat | Lime | Matcha | Egg white


The Social List’s “Where Life Begins”

2105 E. 4th St.

What kind of cocktail? The one you listen to a vinyl record with as this is part of our partnership with the Good Luck Vinyl Club, where we’ll listen to Madonna’s “Erotica” and sip on drinks inspired by the Queen of Pop—like this one, which comes from a song dedicated on how to use one’s tongue on, *ahem*, certain lady parts. (This event does requires a $15 ticket but is basically free: Your ticket scores you a free cocktail from one of the concoctions being served.)

Where Life Begins: Nosotros Mezcal | Banana liqour | Lime | Lychee | Strawberry | Chocolate walnut bitters


The Ordinarie’s “Promenade Manhattan”

210 The Promenade N.

What kind of cocktail? The perfectly boozy, surprisingly herbaceous take on a Manhattan. Colby Sue has always been one of The Ordinarie’s most stellar, coming in with the ranks of previous bartenders like Adam Stearns that truly set up the space to be as cocktail-focused as it is culinary-centric. This wonderful, wonderful drink is an example of that.

The Promenade Manhattan (Colby Sue, 2023): Rye Whiskey | Luxardo Maraschino | Amaro Cio Ciaro | Cardamom | Citrus Zest


El Barrio Cantina’s “La Noche Negra”

1731 E. 4th St.

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What kind of cocktail? The beautifully black one. If there is anything to say about El Barrio, it is that they are doing their best to keep it community: They constantly participate in events, always have partnerships, and somehow also maintain a party vibe—a true Long Beach joint if there ever was one.

La Noche Negra: Tequila Ocho | Crème de Mûre | Lime | Agave | Charcoal | Chamoy


The Attic on Broadway’s “Bunny in the Bank”

3441 E. Broadway

What kind of cocktail? The witty one that looks like a carrot. When it comes to cocktails specifically, it is worthy of note that The Attic was serving Vieux Carrés and sazeracs long before the rest of the city caught up—but current lead cocktail developer Nathaniel Ochoa has taken on an embracing of both that classic cocktail past and the current.

Bunny in the Bank: Mezcal | Carrot syrup | Lemon | “Hearty pinch of salt” | Parsley | Thyme


Selva’s “San Andrés”

4137 E. Anaheim St.

What kind of cocktail? The rum-y, punch-y, boozy, funky cocktail.

The intent with Selva has always been simple: Reflect the food of Colombia respectfully while also distinctly being the food and vision of Chef Carlos Jurado himself. And in this sense, Jurado knew that cocktails—which are distinctly culinary yet never receive that very spotlight—were essential in creating his space. This is where mixologist Mike Borowski comes in.

San Andrés: Blended rum | Agricole rum | Banana liquer | Guanabana | Lime


The Bamboo Club’s “Bye Bye Ladies”

1241 E. 4th St.

What kind of cocktail? The perfectly tiki kind. The Bamboo Club—celebrating five years this year—is unquestionably the epicenter of Long Beach’s love of tiki bars and drinks, echoing to a time when our city was flush with tiki concepts and spaces, from underground bars like The Outrigger that was once underneath The Lafayette to the famed Hawaiian that once graced Pacific Coast Highway from 1955 to 1969. This coconutty, macadamia nutty, hint of brightness drink represents just that.

Bye Bye Ladies: Pineapple | Coconut cream | Lemon | Tito’s Vodka | Trader Vic’s Macadamia Nut Liqueur


Viaje’s “La Condesa”

5224 E. 2nd St.

What kind of cocktail? The made-in-Mexico gin cocktail. Tiquio Serratos, the head barman over at Viaje in Belmont Shore, has a deep passion for his home country’s distilling scene—and it goes way beyond tequila and mezcal, two spirits he obviously appreciates considering their heavy features on his menus but isn’t solely focused on. This cocktail embodies just that, using Condesa gin made in Mexico City to highlight an aspect of Mexican distilling few do.

La Condesa: Condesa prickly pear-orange blossom gin | Apple | Celery | Lemon | Sage syrup | Aquafaba | Floral bitters


Port City Tavern’s “Green Eggs & Ham”

4206 E. Anaheim St.

What kind of cocktail? The literary one. Port City Tavern, East Long Beach’s highbrow-meets-lowbrow bar that was once Iguana Kelly’s, is becoming one of Long Beach’s most creative cocktail spaces, allowing its array of bartenders to explore their creativity in ways that few, if any, bars are doing. Head barman Bradley Eston exemplifies that with all his creations, which he also happily shares with his bartenders should they create something special.


The Altar Society’s “Brews meets Bars”

230 Pine Ave.

What kind of cocktail? The beer kind that is perfect before you do a bar crawl. Kinda cheating on this list? Yes—but they also have a full bar and it’s way to make sure you last through the night as we will meet at The Altar for the ultimate DTLB bar crawl, following it up with ISM Brewing, The Stave, The Ordinarie, and Rosemallows.


Panxa Cocina’s “Tranquilo Mijo”

3937 E. Broadway

What kind of cocktail? The largest-collection-of-agave-spirits one. Yes, that’s right, Panxa is home to well over 130 bottles of agave spirits and there are two ways to experience it: Go to our private tasting where you’ll have some food and get to taste over 20 iterations from eight different distilleries for $30. Or through a cocktail—like this wonderful fruity-meets-earthy mixture from cocktail master Bryce Kaesman.

Tranquilo Mijo: Producer Ensamble | Cynar | Pineapple | Lime | Agave | Sage | Palo Santo


Marlena’s “Pegu Club”

5854 E. Naples Plaza

What kind of cocktail? The refreshing porch pounder one. I said the entirety of Dave Castillo’s menu for Last Call menu was worth ordering—and I meant it, as he explores No. 3 Gin across three classic iterations, including this citrusy, bright, dangerously sippable concoction birthed in 1923. It marks one of the most gorgeous pre-Prohibition creations.

Pegu Club: No. 3 Gin | Curacao | Lemon Juice | Sugar | Aromatic & Orange Bitters | Orange Zest


The Ordinarie’s “Captain’s Grog”

210 The Promenade N.

What kind of cocktail? The one birthed in Long Beach in 1962.

It was 1957 at Alamitos Bay and The Captain’s Inn was quite the spot for a sexy night out when it opened that year: Perched over the marina and docked yachts, the space used its second floor as a tiki bar named The Hukilau—and it was there that “Captain’s Grog” was birthed in 1962.

Captain’s Grog: Light Rum | Aged Rum | Dark Rum | Ginger Liquor | Orange Curacao | Grapefruit | Lime | Maple | Vanilla & Almond

Wait–you mention “Long Beach Last Call.” What is it?

After the success of my restaurant week last year during August, Long Beach Food Scene Week, bar owners and tenders rightfully asked: “What about a week for us?”

So I decided to oblige and present Long Beach Food Scene: Last Call, a ten-day long celebration of Long Beach’s amazing bar culture, it’s even more amazing workers, and the industry that often goes without recognition as one of our city’s largest economic and social drivers. 

Thanks to my collaborators—Scott Lennard of RNDC and Chris Lewis of Nosotros Tequila y Mezcal—we’ve created some 15 events across the ten-day span on Last Call. To say the least, we’ve worked our asses off and we hope you’ll come out and celebrate with us (that is, if we make it to Day 10 alive). 

So go order a drink. Or go to an event. Or do both. Celebrate the place that is open ’til last call but is often also, the last one called out as an essential part of our social structure.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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