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Food

Photos: Los Feliz Bar Spruces Up Vodka Sodas With Trendy, Housemade Syrups

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When you hear of vodka sodas, the first thing you probably think about are those boring old highballs you get at a club because they're easy and you're on a diet. However, over at Los Feliz's Messhall, the barmen there are kicking it up a notch and making the drinks fun, with more flavors than just bland soda water.

LAist visited Messhall earlier this week for an evening drink—well, actually more like five drinks. From flavors like pineapple cake to strawberry-lemon verbena and apricot-orange crush, the crew is adding their twist to their sodas. Lead bartender Mark Grubb told LAist that for many of the flavors, they're making them in-house with real, seasonal ingredients and try to stay away from artificial flavorings wherever they can.

For the sour cherry almond, they use real sour cherries (and they experimented with a few different varieties to get the right taste) and almonds, and then boil them down to make the flavors. They cooked apricots with orange peels for another one. He says "they're a little bit more elaborate" than you're average vodka soda, but they're not quite a intense as a Mai Tai.

We were especially fans of the strawberry-lemon verbena which had a refreshing minty and berry taste and the sour-cherry almond drink that had a subtle hint of almonds.

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Grubb says Messhall's jumping in on the craze surrounding the classic drink in the mixologist scene. "We're trying to lean into the punch with vodka sodas," he says.

Even though they just have five varieties of vodka sodas on the menu, they're constantly experimenting with new flavors. They've been switching out drinks that work and don't work—for example, they once had a Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Grubb says he's been testing out a pistachio libation in his spare time. They plan on keeping the vodka soda bar on the menu for a long time since it's become popular at their restaurant.

As for the folks who might be worrying whether or not this means more calories, Grubb says the flavors are more subtle and not syrupy. So, drink up!

Messhall is located at 4500 Los Feliz Blvd. in Los Feliz, (323) 660-6377. The vodka sodas are $9 each, or $5 for just the sodas.

[h/t: The L.A. Times]