(credit: shutterstock)

(credit: shutterstock)

It used to be that tequila was good for only two things: margaritas and shots. Then the 80’s hit and the Tequila Sunrise and the Bloody Maria were happily added to tequila’s repertoire. But it wasn’t until “mixology”; became a real thing that tequila cocktails got a whole lot better. Sure, margaritas and shots are still a popular way to enjoy tequila but these recipes created by five LA bartenders may convince you to step outside your comfort zone.
11720 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 762-1833

Originally from Seattle, Jason Bran ditched the overcast skies for sunny California and immediately fell in love with LA’s bar industry. Passionate about the craft, Jason raises people’s expectations when it comes to cocktail quality. If you’ve had any of the signature libations at Studio City’s Firefly and Hollywood’s Warwick you’re well aware of the difference between someone designing a cocktail and simply pouring a drink. That’s because Jason is a cocktail consultant for both establishments. His talent is undeniable and his recipes are innovative and inviting.

(credit: A.A/yelp)

(credit: A.A/yelp)

Kona Gold (Firefly)

  • 1 ½ oz tequila
  • ½ oz lime
  • ½ oz agave
  • ½ oz pineapple juice
  • Jalapeño slice
  • Pinch of cilantro

Pour ingredients into a shaker. Shake then strain over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with pineapple and jalapeno slice.

(Photo credit: Alen Lin)

(Photo credit: Alen Lin)

6507 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 460-6667

White Heat (Warwick)

  • 1 ½  oz Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila
  • 1 oz fresh jicama juice
  • ½  oz fresh cucumber juice
  • ¼  oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup

Build in a mixing tin/glass, shake with ice and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with cucumber and cilantro leaves.

(credit: Felix A./Yelp)

(credit: Felix A./Yelp)

La Cuevita
5922 N. Figueroa Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042
(323) 255-6871

La Cuevita is a favorite Hollywood hang out for pretty much everyone with Taco Tuesdays and happy hour from 5-9pm. General manager, Sol Trece oversees things and runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to customer service and good times. Her menu creation, The Aeroplano is a glistening example of that. Combining the smooth flavor of Sino tequila, the grappa based herb infused Amaro Nonino and the palatable bitterness of Campari, you certainly have a good time in your hands. Sol’s South American heritage and influence on La Cuevita’s cocktail menu makes anything you choose a winner.


  • 1 oz of Sino Tequila Reposado
  • ½ oz Amaro Nonino
  • ½ oz Campari
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • Dash of yellow chili pepper brine
  • A float of Mezcal

Combine all ingredients, except Mezcal, in a shaker over ice.  Shake. Strain over ice in lowball glass over ice, and float with mezcal. Garnish with a yellow pepper and lime.

Related: Best Rooftop Bars In Los Angeles

(credit: Lisa W./Yelp)

(credit: Lisa W./Yelp)

El Condor
3701 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 660-4500

El Condor bartender and cocktail consultant Perry Cornelius got his start in the business as a Manhattan bartender before heading to Los Angeles. After working in a number of well known LA establishments like Providence and Bottega Louie, Perry landed at El Condor. With his passion for cocktail innovation Perry consulted on El Condor’s menu and many customer favorites were born. The Classic may sound like a simple margarita but the real difference is choosing fresh OJ or house made Jamaica over simple syrup or sour mix which elevates the flavor and quality. You can find Perry behind the bar at El Condor Friday and Saturday nights.

The Classic

  • 1 ½  oz Cabeza silver tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 oz Fresh OJ

Build in shaker, shake, dump into “Chicago” 10.5 oz rocks glass, (salt rim or plain).

(credit: Caroline H./Yelp)

(credit: Caroline H./Yelp)

The Morrison
3179 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 667-1839

AJ Quevedo is an accomplished mixologist of today’s generation, bringing a healthy component to crafted cocktails. As a cocktail consultant for The Morrison, AJ combines his knowledge as a certified nutritional consultant and a competitive athlete with his interest in unusual spirits and new flavor profiles to create a line of previously unexplored infusions with superfood ingredients. The results? Outstanding! The cocktail menu descriptions may read like something out of Whole Foods but don’t worry, they still have plenty of kick. Queen Margaret’s Revenge just might be your new addiction.

Queen Margaret’s Revenge

  • 1 ½ oz Casamigos Tequila
  • ½ oz cointreau
  • ½ oz medical grade white American ginseng
  • ¼ oz apotha cherry (tart cherry concentrated medical grade)
  • ¼  fresh lime

Served up or on the ricks with a smoked paprika sea salt rim.

Pio Pico Crusta (credit: bowandtruss.com)

Pio Pico Crusta (credit: bowandtruss.com)

Bow & Truss
11122 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 985-8787

Mixologist Cort Carpenter is truly impressive to watch behind the bar at Bow & Truss in the North Hollywood Arts District. Smooth and charming can describe both the man and his cocktail creations, especially his Blackberry Flirt. While the Bow & Truss menu has numerous enticing libations, the Blackberry Flirt is one of Cort’s personal creations. It’s delicious as it is dangerous. You can find Cort behind the bar every Thursday-Saturday. His advice to customers – be respectful and your bartender will respect you.

Blackberry Flirt

  • 2oz Arta Silver Tequila
  • 3/4 oz Agave Syrup
  • 1 oz Fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz G.E. Massenz Crème de Mûre
  • Top with soda water

Build over ice and garnish with a blackberry, mint leaf and a lemon wheel.

Related: Top Singles Bars In Los Angeles

Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.