We've got this season's hottest elixirs

Last summer was all about the Mojito, the sexy, sugary drink flecked with flirty bits of mint. But cocktail trends are, well, fluid. Variety Weekend asked three local mixologists what we can expect to see.

photos/vlifeweekend/drink_marg.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Sidebar Margarita”> Gin Lizzie
Sea of Japan
Sidebar Margarita Gin Lizzie Sea of Japan
Who Vincenzo Marianella, head bartender, Sidebar
Trend “The Mojito is still big. But tequila’s big now. People are more knowledgeable about tequila. It used to be about the end of the night — doing a shot. Now they sip tequila like they sip cognac.”
Signature cocktail: Sidebar Margarita. 100% agave anejo tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar. Best served straight up, with or without kosher salt.
Who Tim Staehling, bar manager, The Hungry Cat
Trend “Muddled fruit drinks. Lord knows we do enough of them; my hand has calluses. More restaurants are taking advantage of farmers’ markets; I go to Santa Monica and Hollywood and see a lot of chefs and bartenders. And gin. It’s still a hard sell — gin’s like the quiet guy in the back of the room. But it’s a subtle flavor and works nicely with fruit drinks.”
Signature cocktail: Gin Lizzie (created by Hungry Cat bartender Danielle Motor). 8 pieces of muddled tangerines, 1 ½ oz. Plymouth Gin, a dash of house-made rosemary simple syrup and one fresh lime, squeezed. Shaken.
Who Jon Pouridas, bar manager, Water Grill
Trend “More textured drinks: fresh flavored ices, sorbets. A lot of people are doing the macerated fruit thing, but a bunch of berries crushed up doesn’t appeal to me. It takes away from the drink. You’re also seeing more cold sake around town — it’s refreshing and light for summer. It goes well with seafood and is very easy to drink.”
Signature cocktail: Sea of Japan. Nigori unfiltered sake, honeyed Yuzu and ginger beer, garnished with fresh mint.

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