Trust Your 'Tender

L.A.'s 10 best cocktails

Los Angeles' current cocktail renaissance began like a secret society, hidden behind unmarked doors and at the top of dimly lit staircases.

The arcane names of libations that acted like a foreign tongue for the cocktail underground became, wondrously, a common language, and today, the city's cocktail scene has developed to the point where great drinks are expected at bars and restaurants alike. But there's a difference between "great" and "essential." Knowing that, we created Tasting Table Los Angeles' Best Cocktails 2011.

After extensive researching (read: drinking), we can assure you that these 10 drinks are especially fine. The men and women behind these drinks are pouring subterranean Italianate cocktails in Beverlywood, sitcom-themed tipples in burlesque-ish Thai Town dives, market-driven creations in historic Hollywood hotels and so much more.

Use the guide for a boozy night out or, with our collection of recipes for the same drinks, you can shake and stir these standout libations at home.

Now, where did we put that empty bourbon barrel?