9. Oaxacalifornia Chilacayote Agua Fresca ($3.50): Juan & Sofia Antonio’s stall in the USC-adjacent Mercado La Paloma specializes in ice cream and sorbet in relatively exotic flavors like tuna (cactus), guanabana and mamey, plus premium aguas frescas. Oaxacalifornia serves horchata and pineapple, but their chilacayote agua fresca is more distinctive, with sweet strands of squash and black squash seeds on ice.
10. SQIRL Turmeric Tonic ($4): Jessica Koslow and her team don’t approach food like many other restaurant crews in L.A., so of course they’ve developed a unique drink. Turmeric tonic is a vivid orange beverage crafted with the namesake spice, ginger, lemon juice and simple syrup, served on the rocks. This slightly bitter, spicy drink is more than friendly with SQIRL’s food.
11. TAZA. A Social Coffee House Tango ($4.50): For summer, Taza owner Sonny Mediana struck just the right balance with a refreshing Tango. Tango starts with smooth cold brew black tea. Mediana sources fresh TANgerine and manGO puree (tango, get it) from a local woman and shakes the puree with ice until frothy. Taza also makes a mixed berry version.
12. Wexler’s Deli Chocolate Phosphate ($3): At this old school deli inside Grand Central Market, chef Micah Wexler and Mike Kassar feature house-smoked pastrami and salmon, black-and-white cookies, and babka. Their tradition extends to beverages. Chocolate phosphate is a soda fountain classic with chocolate and plenty of bubbles from the addition of acid phosphate, which also dries out the drink and mellows out the sweetness.