DAMA has long been associated with celebrity chef Antonia Lofaso. But those who had the pleasure of dining in this unique establishment in DTLA know that the Latin-American restaurant is easily one of Los Angeles’ best cocktail bars. Not to mention, this cocktail program has its share of celebrity mixologists that help make it so special. Including their ability to create a unique flair to tradition classic Latin cocktails.
Behind DAMA’s cocktail program are the beverage connoisseurs and gurus Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix. Since they moved to Los Angeles from New York nearly two decades ago, Moix and Livigni have been opening one successful bar after another. Their work has been noticed by both the press and through several awards. The duo has been nominated for Best American Restaurant Bar, Best New American Cocktail Bar, and World’s Best Spirits selection, among others.
If you’re planning to swing by, but lost on what to try first, fret not. In this article, they reveal their favorite items from their storied cocktail program.
DAMA’s spacious outdoor patio will make anyone want to sit down and dream of a tropical holiday. But what’s the perfect mix to sip to complete the experience. Moix and Livingni suggests the Buenaventura, their version of the classic martini, but with a sweet tinge of cacao white, as the definitive drink to imbibe al fresco. It also highly recommended to pair with one of the spicy items one would find in the restaurant’s menu.
This is a classic cocktail adapted from Albert Crockett’s book on the 500 plus cocktails served at the Waldorf. DAMA’s version does not stray from the original recipe of bourbon, lime, cacao white, and grenadine. Its delicately sweet, thanks to the crème de cacao and grenadine syrup, but the lime provides the much-needed balance.
The daiquiri is a true Cuban concoction and is one of the more popular items in DAMA’s cocktail program as its perfectly in line with the restaurant’s Latin American flair. Maybe it’s because of the fine rum or perhaps DAMA’s Cuban aesthetics adds something to the total experience. Whatever it is, one couldn’t go wrong with Pablo’s and Steve’s modern take on a classic drink.
Batida de Banana
Another South American classic given a modern and somewhat nostalgic twist. DAMA’s own version of this Brazilian favorite involves cachacas, lime, coconuts, bitters, and banana. The last item was chosen specifically as a fitting homage to the area’s history as a banana distribution warehouse.
Of course, DAMA has its own take on one of Los Angeles’ favorite cocktail at the moment: the old fashioned. What makes this take interesting is the single barrel bourbon that is being used. The Four Roses single barrel bottled exclusively for DAMA is sweet, rich, and gives a smooth and lingering finish.
Another popular item from DAMA’s blended cocktails selection is the restaurant’s piña colada. DAMA’s not-too-sweet version consists of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. This is the perfect all-around drink and goes well with DAMA’s equally delectable seafood options.
If you just want something to wash down a tasty meal, then you can’t go wrong with a glass of Adonis. This sherry-based drink is the perfect food cocktail that meshes well with a variety of aromas, subtly enhancing the flavors of seafood and other meats.