Watermelon Mary: A summer cocktail so perfect, you don't have to wait until brunch to drink it. Using both fresh-pressed watermelon and tomato juice, it's a light refreshing take on the classic, with just enough of a sweet tinge.
Red White & Blue: We came across this drink recipe from West Hollywood's Tortilla Republic that makes a great, celebratory quaff -- you don't need to add alcohol to make it tasty, so it's great for an all-ages party.
Cucumber-Lavender Margarita: This was created in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. We're not sure how that day became so associated with margaritas, but hey, we'll take it.
Fresh Margaritas: This America's Test Kitchen recipe pulls no punches: it calls for steeping the citrus and sugar for a full 24 hours. If you didn't plan your partying that far in advance (and really, who does), four hours will do; if this is all last minute, just omit the zest and you're good to go.
Lavender Margarita: Margaritas are something of an art form in Los Angeles, and there are many, many ways to create them. This one, from Whiskey Blue at W Los Angeles -- Westwood, adds a little crème de violette to the mix, making it a frilly, fun little drink. (I say little, but be careful: it's these sweet ones that'll get ya.)
Laredo: We've found a refreshing, simple (just use fancy ingredients!) cocktail from the relatively new Willie Jane in Venice, a restaurant run by celebrity chef Govind Armstrong.
Patrón Gold Cosmopolitan: This is the official drink of the Oscars after-party. And yes, it does have a gold garnish.
The Girl is Dangerous: This cocktail doesn't necessarily look dangerous -- it's a lovely, frilly shade of pink -- but someone at The Corner Door in Culver City must have had their reasons for naming it as they did.
Tuk Tuk: The well-regarded Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach is getting experimental with their cocktails. They shared this recipe with us, one that requires some pre-planning: you've got to infuse your tequila with chilies, and your coconut milk with Thai herbs. (Don't fret. "Infuse" is just a fancy word for "soak.")
Picante de la Casa: This joint effort by the teams at Cecconi's and Soho House (both places most people don't regularly go to) has some heat from the chili pepper garnish as it is -- need it spicier? Just throw that chili chunk in the drink itself. It may not look as elegant, but that's why you're making it at home.