Gabe Cothes, bartender at warm and inventive SoMA spot Salt House, created this macerated strawberry and Serrano pepper double whammy to show off the flavors of the West. "It was really important to me that all the ingredients oozed the west coast," Cothes, who grew up on the beach in the classic California beach town of Capitola, said. He didn't want the cocktail to be too cold, too sharp or too boozy -- just "a little glow that still could become a fire." To that end, he created a variation of a classic-style fizz, featuring Capurro Pisco Acholado as the star with a gentle helping of smooth, fruity gold rum as supporting cast. Adding just an ounce of the sweet, piquant Serrano-strawberry shrub instead of lemon really ups the ante. Topped with soda, this is a perfect way to start the evening.
Sunset is not the time to get complicated, throwing bitters, shrubs or syrups galore into a cocktail when an amaro could be doing the heavy lifting for you. L.A.'s Greenbar Distillery has done just that, creating an amaro inspired by flowers, fruit, roots and herbs they discovered on Southern California hikes. The result is a citrusy, floral concoction that's bittersweet, just like watching the sun set in the Golden State, with an impressive roster of ingredients you'll be glad you didn't have to harvest and distill (California poppy, molasses spirits, grapefruit, orange, lemon, bearberry, California bay leaf, pink peppercorn, dandelion, blessed thistle, burdock, rue, artichoke, gentian, geranium and cherry bark, oh my!).
The Lobby Bar at Terranea Resort in Ranchos Palos Verdes took this amaro, called the Grand Poppy, and added it to a puree of blood orange and sparkling wine to make life more pleasurable and less complicated for you. Here's to keeping it simple.
Chef José’s favorite gin & tonic takes a citrus-forward approach to the cocktail, with a secret weapon: Makrut lime leaf. The leaf, native to Southeast Asia and Southern China, imparts an intensely aromatic, wild, piney smell and taste. “The tropical aroma of Makrut lime in José’s Ultimate G&T brings the feeling of a sun setting over the beach right to the guest," Ricardo Gomez, General Manager at The Bazaar, says. "The cocktail is refreshing and layered with flavor just like the layered colors of a sunset.” Sometimes one ingredient can make a world of difference. (Fair warning: you'll want to order bags of Makrut lime leaf and use them for a variety of cocktails and recipes, including these cookies).
If you can't be on a vinyard in Sonoma for tonight's sunset, the California Spritzing is the next best thing, with two Sonoma County-produced ingredients: Benham’s Gin and Long Meadow Ranch Brut Farmstead. The bright sparkling wine will give hints of green apple, pear, citrus and spice, while the gin brings a healthy dose of juniper and citrus. Both are dry enough to let the mint and lemon you just harvested from your backyard shine through.
5 of 7Courtesy of the Intercontinental Los Angeles
To enjoy the sunset, you need a view of it. Spire73 at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown -- on the 73rd floor, the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere -- has it in spades. Orion's Paloma, their mezcal, lychee and citrus cocktail, mimics the pinks and oranges of an L.A. sunset. With 360-degree views and this sweet, tart treat from the heart of the agave in hand, soaking up the sunset is a breathtaking experience.
This crowd-pleasing cocktail requires a little advance thought, but if you infuse the hibiscus the day before, your most time-consuming work is done, so you can enjoy this cooler with a sunset on a hot summer night. Juicy, refreshing and mixed for six, this is a perfect Friday night party drink.
The delicate, floral, fruity taste of St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur, makes a lovely match with apricots and peaches. St-Germain is gentle enough to match in equal doses with prosecco and fruits, making this recipe a simple no-brainer. You can have this recipe together in a pitcher in minutes, meaning more time for enjoying the sunset from a golden hill behind your house.