Library Bar Pours Classic Cocktails | Los Angeles

Chris Hewes is ready to make you a drink

Most bartenders make their mark by working behind a just-opened bar.

Chris Hewes' approach is more slow and steady than flash-bang–but no less effective. He recently took over for Matthew Biancaniello as head bartender at the Roosevelt Hotel's Library Bar. But he's also behind the new cocktail program at Santa Monica's Rustic Canyon.

"Both places have customers who expect a certain experience. It's almost harder than with a new bar because I have to introduce new things carefully," says Hewes.

To wit, you can still find several of Biancaniello's drinks on the menu at Library Bar; Hewes has given more focus to classic cocktails and their variations, and has added to the whiskey and Scotch list: "I want it to be the best list in the city," he says.

At Rustic Canyon, try an inspiring Hemingway Daiquiri ($11), given edge with coconut nectar, or the more adventurous Lift Off ($12), a Buck's Fizz spiked with gin and arugula.

On both menus right now: The Handstand (see the recipe), a perfect summation of Hewes' style. Using the Negroni as a touchstone, Byrrh replaces vermouth, and Salers swaps for Campari, creating an entirely new–yet still familiar–cocktail.