The other night my good friend and fellow imbiber Scot was having one of those days, and in need of a drink. He was also in need of food, so I suggested we meet at Govind Armstrong’s 8oz Burger Bar. He arrived first and began exploring the cocktail menu. I’ll let Scot recap his first two drinks, both 8oz Signatures:

Lavender Mojito (Bacardi rum, fresh lime juice, lavender, mint, soda) – “This was a nice twist on a classic summer cocktail. The lavender all but removed the traditional mojito’s tartness and gave the drink a smooth flavor. The mint, lime and lavender combined with just enough soda to give it a nice carbonated fizz; a dangerous drink that’s easy to knock back in a heartbeat or two.”

Blackberry Collins (Vodka or Plymouth Gin, muddled blackberries, fresh lemon juice, soda water) – “I’m a sucker for a bit of fruit in my drinks and this seemed a refreshing twist on a classic so I gave it a shot. I was disappointed when the bartender poured the entire drink from a pitcher; no mixing at all. I asked him about this and he explained that the Blackberry Collins was their most popular drink, so they keep plenty on hand during the busy hours. The punch-style prep didn’t take anything away from the drink’s flavor. It’s very fruit-forward and overshadowed any bitterness you’d normally expect from the gin or vodka in a Collins.”

When I arrived I was surprised at the busy and lively scene, compared to the quiet lunch I experienced previously. “Lively” is putting it mildly; the cacophony puts the noise at Comme Ça to shame. I was also glad to see a well thought out, reasonably priced cocktail menu. I found Scot at the crowded bar and, picking from the Classics section, started with a Whiskey Sour (bourbon, fresh lemon juice, “a touch of sweetness”). The vigorous shake assured its frothiness and made for a perfect, refreshing beginning to my session. Scot reloaded with another Signature cocktail:

Basil Elderflower Daiquiri (Bacardi rum, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice, white cranberry juice, fresh basil, served up) – “This cocktail has a lot of flavors mixing through it; cranberry and lime dominate while there’s just a kick of basil. I really missed the elderflower, though. I think it could have used a touch more Elderflower to cut the tartness of the cranberry and lime. I preferred this least of the three drinks I had at the bar.”

A perfectly crafted Manhattan.

A perfectly crafted Manhattan.

At this point we were finally seated. I went with another Classic, a Manhattan made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. It was excellent, perfectly balanced and one of the best I’ve had in some time. On our server’s suggestion, Scot ordered another Signature:

Cherry Vodka Sour (cherry vodka, cranberry juice, homemade grenadine, fresh lemon juice) – “I’ve never returned a drink before, but there was no possible way to drink what amounted to a liquefied Jolly Rancher. The hostess and waitress were very accommodating and switched this out for a new drink with absolutely no fuss.”

Scot ordered the Short Rib Grilled Cheese (onion marmalade, bel paese cheese, all sorts of awesome) and the Truffled Potato Skins (didn’t taste the truffle, but still really good). Since he was doing most of the dining, I gave him my Telegraph White Ale, and he gave me his replacement cocktail, the very tasty Rum Salernum. Sadly neither of us could recall the ingredients, perhaps foreshadowing the shenanigans to follow at Roger Room…

8oz. Burger Bar
7661 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 852-0008
www.8ozburgerbar.com

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