Freddy Smalls’ Cocktails, Take 2: New Bar Guy, New Program

Freddy Smalls cocktail Conejo by Caroline on Crack
Freddy Smalls cocktail Conejo by Caroline on Crack

Never fear, it’s just a Freddy Smalls cocktail with tequila, pasillo chili, peche, lime, breakfast radish and agave.

It’s no secret that I never really liked the cocktails at Freddy Smalls in West L.A. Overly fussy concoctions which tried too hard without really succeeding in tasting good. Thank goodness for the new bar guy. Johan Stein replaced Dave Fleisher back in February and has stripped down the drink list from a “what the hell is that” factor to a straightforward classic style.

Johan hails from places like Sotto and Red Medicine and he described his style, “It’s very simple now. Simple stuff behind the bar: simple syrup, honey syrup, ginger, everything fresh. I’m going to start doing sodas soon. My philosophy is get really good drinks but have them not take forever. I’m not a snob but I want people to drink good stuff.”

The cocktail list for sure reads cleaner and simpler than previous menu. No nonsense where the list of random ingredients are thrown together with no regard for taste. Too mean? Anyway, things are tasting better now. And the fact the cocktails have finally caught up with the food and beer, I may very well be Freddy Smalls’ next Foursquare mayor.

Here are some of the cocktails off the new menu which will be changed up seasonally, along with some of my notes from the hosted tasting.

The above Conejo cocktail was an instant favorite. Spicy but subtle. The lime doesn’t overpower it. I couldn’t really taste the peche but coulc smell a hint of it. So drinkable and lovely.

Freddy Smalls cocktail Cat & Mouse by Caroline on Crack

Cat & Mouse: Navy strength gin, white grenache, Cocchi Americano, cilantro. Such a weird drink. Definitely an acquired taste. It smells malty like genever. Finishes bitter and potent. Not for the teetotaler.

Freddy Smalls cocktail Bay Ridge by Caroline on Crack

Bay Ridge: Norwegian vodka, ginger, lemon, champagne, dill. Fizzy, light, brightness from the ginger works with the champagne’s effervescence. Perfect day drinking cocktail.

Freddy Smalls cocktail King's Garden by Caroline on Crack

King’s Garden: Famous Grouse scotch, genever, lemon, cucumber, micro herbs, cane sugar. So surprising that despite its use of scotch and genever that none of the smokiness or maltiness come through. Instead it’s light and clean like spa water.

Freddy Smalls cocktail Porco Rosso by Caroline on Crack

Porco Rosso: Cognac, Aperol, blanc vermouth, habanero, grapefruit essence. A baby Boulevardier, ligher than the classic and with heat and spice midpalate. Finishes a touch bitter.

Freddy Smalls cocktail Corsita by Caroline on Crack

Corsita (aka “Choir Boy”): strawberry, Campari, orange juice, egg whites, prosecco. This off-menu cocktail is an Americano with all the frills. Really bitter from midpalate to finish. Would make a great aperitif.

Freddy Smalls Bar and Kitchen
11520 Pico Boulevard
West LA, California 90064 (map)
Facebook: Freddy Smalls
Twitter: @FreddySmallsbar

3 Responses to Freddy Smalls’ Cocktails, Take 2: New Bar Guy, New Program
  1. shelley
    April 8, 2013 | 1:13 pm

    i love when bars near me have good vibes and good cocktails. cheers!

  2. Caroline on Crack
    April 8, 2013 | 1:18 pm

    Lucky! Actually since it’s on my way home from work, it’s the perfect spot to kill time during rush hour. 🙂

  3. […] April 8, Caroline on Crack founder Caroline Pardilla covered Freddy Smalls’ Cocktails, Take 2: New Bar Guy, New Program, discussing upgrades from Johan Stein, who replaced Dave Fleisher in February. She now recommends […]

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