May 5th -- otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo -- is creeping up. L.A.'s sheep will follow one another from Mexican restaurant to Mexican bar to other Mexican bar, but if you're the kind of person that, say, avoided Irish bars on St. Patrick's Day, this is how you can steer clear of Cinco de Mayo melee. But without being a complete curmudgeon, we present five killer tequila drinks -- they're just not margaritas.
Pimm's "No 7" Cup At 1886: There is a lot of new/old booze inside Pasadena's Raymond Hotel. A cottage sits in the back of the restaurant, once the housing quarters of the hotel's keeper, circa 1886. Today, Pasadena denizens get to sip on whimsical libations that pay homage to the era. 1886 serves a 21st-century take on the Pimm's Cup, which includes tequila, grapefruit soda and their own proprietary Pimm's-style liqueur of Punt y Mes and cherry Herring.
1250 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena; 626-441-3136
Barbacoa At Rivera: You'll drink anything Julian Cox concocts, but it's easy to fantasize about the Barbocoa, and return to Rivera again and again, just so your lips can relive the tingle of its tequila (or mezcal; you choose), chipotle, bell pepper and ginger. Then, you gnaw away on the Barbacoa's signature garnish: hickory-smoked beef jerky.
1050 S. Flower St. #102; 213-749-1460
Sculaccione At Osteria Mozza: While much of L.A. is congregating around taco trucks, Cinco de Mayo just might be the perfect night to finagle a seat at the Amaro Bar at Osteria Mozza. Naturally, you'll take part in the Amaro's three-course menu for $42 (which includes wine), but you must kick off the night with the Sculaccione, which boasts tequila, Campari, grapefruit juice and a few dashes of Angostura bitters.
6602 Melrose Ave.; 323-297-0100
La Aurora At La Descarga: You could argue that feting Cinco de Mayo inside a cavernous Cuban rum bar would prove better than, say, at your ubiquitous Mexican enclave. While your Little Havana shakers beside you guzzle rum, you might wink to the Mexican holiday and order the La Aurora, poured with Herradura tequila, Port, cane syrup and lime, and topped with soda water.
1159 N. Western Ave.; 323-466-1324
Cure All #3 At The Tasting Kitchen: May 5th might just be another ol' night on Abbot Kinney (or it's possible all of Venice is huddled inside Casalinda licking guacamole). At The Tasting Kitchen, however, there is tequila a-stirring. We suggest you ask for the Cure All #3 (and even if it's off the menu that night, just ask for it). Of tequila, maraschino, Absinthe and Punt y Mes, the online menu features a scribble of a word bubble that speaks: "Come, sit down, let me cure you by getting you buzzed ...."
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; 310-392-6644