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Ten-Dollar Booze Glory: The L.A. Taco Guide to Ordering Drinks at Guerrilla Tacos

8:54 AM PDT on April 17, 2019

Ramon Bravo. All photos by Cesar Hernandez.

[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hen taco truck innovators Guerrilla Tacos opened their long awaited brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2018, one of the most curious aspects of the new business was the introduction of cocktails to the menu. Chef Wes Avila set out to make high quality cocktails at an affordable price — none would be more than $10.

The bar program at Guerrilla, much like the food, revels in complexity. Much of the menu is about innovating the classics or creating something new altogether. That means using quality spirits and house made syrups, infusions, and fruit juices.

Guerrilla worked with VA’LA Hospitality to create a majority of the menu. The current bar director Eric Jordan, has left the card relatively unchanged with only few tweaks to the original recipes. Together Jordan and chef Avila have made adjustments, adding, for example, a drink called Paging Dr. Rhum.

“I want to make dope cocktails with great ingredients that doesn’t break the bank,”Jordan tells L.A. Taco. “Also just make people happy— it’s rough world we live in nowadays.”

This is your L.A. Taco Guide to the drinks at the bar at Guerrilla Tacos.

Slightly Spicy

These drinks have more than an alcoholic kick and pair well with Guerrilla's bold taco creations.

Ramon Bravo. All photos by Cesar Hernandez.

Ramon Bravo

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he idea here was to create a deconstructed al pastor taco. Jordan tells L.A. Taco that an early version of the drink even had al pastor fat! The cocktail is mezcal-based and that layers various points of smoke. The smokiness of the mezcal and salted glass padded in a soft sweetness, brought by charred pineapple. The glass is actually rimmed with dehydrated tortillas so the smoky corn is present with every sip, activating the spiciness of the cocktail. After the comedown of the first sip, you’ll take a bite of the aforementioned charred pineapple: a wafer-thin sliver of pineapple fruit bursting with sweetness.

Golden Glove Michelada

Micheladas (Golden Glove and Roja)

[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hen the restaurant opened, it felt like a natural choice to order a michelada to pair with tacos. The early versions of the micheladas were definitely for heat seekers but they have been adjusted to be more accessible. The tweaks were as simple as taking out a few thousand peppers from the mix and creating a homemade vegetable blend. The benefit of toning down the heat of these drinks is you can order several.

RELATED: L.A. Taco Podcast: Chinatown After Dark, Where Young Chefs Thrive

Fruity

If the smoke intimidates, you might be interested in these sweeter creations. 

Paging Dr. Rhum

Paging Dr. Rhum

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]t’s a rum-based (duh) cocktail that will transport you to sunny days on a forgotten beach. Think of this drink as an elevated piña colada: it hits all the same notes without the excess sugar. It is one of the the most approachable cocktails on the menu, with a milky mouthfeel brightened by citrus. This delightful cocktail is for the friend that doesn’t like a heavy pour or anyone who wants a treat. Drink it down. Soon you’ll be on your fourth or fifth. But that’s nothing their tacos can’t fix.

Guerilla Punch

Guerrilla Punch

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his drink feels like a cold fireplace in a glass. Bursting with spices and aromatics that will transport you to the fall. The spice comes from the brewed tea and mixed with brandy. It also has sour and fruity flavors that are heighted by the shaved nutmeg and thyme sitting atop the crunchy ice. This cocktail speaks to the comfort of the end of the year holidays.

Mi Vida Pocha

Mi Vida Pocha

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his is probably the most artful drink on the list, with streaks of saffron cordial configured into a spiral. The drink is a reinterpretation of a whiskey sour. The citrus of the cocktail comes from passion fruit and lime creating more robust fruitness. The milky consistency from the egg white combined with the intense fruitiness mask the whiskey taste. It is bright, reinvigorating, and creamy.

L.A. Don't Play

LA Don’t Play

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his is the most refreshing drink on the menu. The drink is named after Guerrilla’s common refrain on social media. It is sour, sweet, and fruity and looks like a setting sunset. This cocktail captures summer in a glass. It is a bright drink for the best and worst days in L.A.

Cochiloco

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Cochiloco is the one exception to the $10 menu, but that's because this punch is meant to share, and for less than $20 you can get a good buzz going. It's $16 but split for two. Most importantly, it is served in a mug shaped like a pig, on its head is a sugarcube that’s lit on fire. It’s economical, fruity, and, if nothing else, looks great.

RELATED: The L.A. Taco Guide to Sweet Dive Bars in the Valley

Spiked Aguas Frescas

Aguas frescas are the drink of choice for tacos, and Guerrilla understands that. In the days of the loncheras, they used to serve rotating aguas frescas that were always interesting. That same idea translates to their spiked aguas frescas. The Mulled Jamaica and Yuzu Pineapple Limonada are similar in that they are both refreshing and approachable. If you decided to add a little liquid courage (which you should), they don’t just add a shot and shove the drink in your face, they treat it like a cocktail. Each spiked agua is shaken to incorporate the alcohol and aerate the ingredients.

Mulled Jamaica

Mulled Jamaica (booze it up with tequila)

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he mulled jamaica will remind you of the spiked ponche of the holidays, without the truckful of sugar. The cocktail has several sources of acidity, most of which comes from the hibiscus flower extract and lime. It is warmed up with fall spices, that will trick you into thinking it’s cold outside. It is light and a fantastic companion for tacos. Disclaimer: caña not included.

Yuzu Pineapple Limonada

Yuzu Pineapple Limonada (booze it up with tequila)

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he sweetness and acidity of this drink welcomes a shot of tequila. The drink has three avenues for acidity, the floral and tart taste of the yuzu, pineapple for sweetness, and lime. It’s electric, fresh, and goes down smooth.

Spirit Forward

Brown is Beautiful

Brown is Beautiful

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he most spirit-forward drink on the menu, this tequila-based cocktail is their take on an Old Fashioned. The tequila is padded with sweetness brought by the vanilla liqueur. It pairs exceptionally well with their desserts. The cocktail cuts down some of the sweetness of say the butterscotch donuts, while not leaving a harsh alcohol taste. It is a classy, dark, and powerful cocktail. The kind of cocktail you might end the night with, or start.

RELATED: A Family-Owned Gastropub in Monterey Park Is Putting an Asian L.A. Twist on Classic Burgers and Brew

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