To the Core

Local bartenders have their eyes on apples this season

Lola's lays claim to creating the first Appletini in L.A., and there was a time when this sugary green cocktail with a slice of apple floating on top worked for us–but not anymore.

There are two schools of thought to apple cocktails now: Build the drink around apple-based spirits, or use fresh juice or cider to amp up the fruit flavor. At Seven Grand, bar manager John Coltharp uses applejack, a spirit that dates back to colonial times, in his autumnal Seven Sins, a rye-based drink that tastes like a sweet-tart Red Delicious sprinkled with cinnamon.

At Copa d'Oro, ask your bartender for "something with apple" and you'll get the Apple One, a puckery drink made with Old Forester bourbon, organic apple juice, St-Germain and lemon juice. At The Varnish, Eric Alperin tops bourbon and ginger syrup with apple cider for the Chin Chin.

At Akasha, Akasha Richmond combines several seasonal tastes–sage, maple syrup and fresh apple juice–with TRU organic lemon vodka to make The Orchard (click here for the recipe). You can find it on the new lounge menu (offered on Friday and Saturday nights): Its cozy flavors pair especially well with the fried-chicken sliders.