About six seats face the small bar at Michael’s Santa Monica. There is more seating by way of the lounge and high top tables but my focus has and always been on a bar stool. I like to see the action.
Michael’s launched the new mixology program last Spring. I don’t get out to the Westside often enough so I haven’t seen the evolution of this bar but I’ve heard good things. I’ve been for special cocktail nights however.
I arrived intending on a drink or two before dinner nearby. A friend met me and while I waited for him, I perused the short happy hour list of just three cocktails. The full cocktail list would have to wait for another night. I chose the most expensive happy hour cocktail, the Dominicano ($8). I saw right away it was a Negroni variation (gin, Campari, sweet vermouth). I’ve been drinking a lot of Negronis lately, perfecting my cocktail at home.
At Michael’s, the Dominicano is Citadelle gin, Dolin blanc, Dolin rouge, Aperol and orange bitters. The mixologist Jason Robey had just left or I would have asked him why he chose to use two vermouths in this drink. It was very nice and I liked the addition of orange bitters.
I had time for a quick highball. I opted for the Rickey with gin ($6). I watched them squeeze fresh lime and it was surprisingly really good. Sometimes I forget how great a simple drink is.
I did also taste my friend’s the 15th State ($7- Maker’s Mark, black pepper-ginger simple syrup, lime). It was very refreshing.
I’m encouraged to come back to try the other cocktails from the main list. There are two cocktails that are $18 which makes me wonder if they could possibly be worth it.
Apple Blush- Noah’s Mill bourbon, Meyer lemon, aged cinnamon simple syrup, Fuji apple, cranberry-pomegranate reduction
Vera Cruz Cocktail- Chinaco anejo tequila, Fair Trade Kafe liqueur, Aperol, seasonal orange juice, Aztec chocolate bitters
There are also two $16 cocktails.
Borracha Remolacha- Revolucion reposado tequila, Del Maguey Mezcal Vida, agave, lime, beet juice, orange biters
Wilbur’s Nemesis- Maker’s Mark bacon reduction, Leopold Bros’ apple whiskey, Bulleit rye, Dolin Rouge, Angostura bitters, torched applewood smoked bacon
These two sounded very interesting to me. Mezcal cocktails are so hot right now.
The rest of the list ranges from $11 and up. It’s very neat to see how this list is so foodie-driven, so seasonal. I’m sure it’ll change in the next few weeks depending on what’s available at the farmers’ markets though we are lucky that a lot of great produce is available year round. Something that has herbs like cilantro and basil would be easy to replicate every month.
I’ll be back!
Other Michael’s posts on The Minty
1147 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403