The opening of Amar Santana's second establishment, Vaca, couldn't have come at a better time, as diners and fans from his finalist stint on Top Chef: California populated Vaca every dinner service (and now every lunch hour). Our guess is that every time you mentioned eating there, the person you were talking to would think you've started drinking more: "Vodka?" "No, VA-CA!" Its marketing genius continues when you discover the slushy, signature cocktail: a gin-based Vaca tonic. When you're ready to expand your horizons, graduate to vermouth. The vermouth de grifo is lovingly house-made from more than 20 botanicals. Request a pour from the tap over ice, and you'll want to sip this nectar all day long. Not quite committed? La Turista is your gateway drink.
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Blended with red vino and fresh juices, the flavors mingle well with Vaca's vermouth. Nosh on your dish of Marconas and corn nuts, or pair it with braised mushrooms and beef oxtail. This year-round sangria makes everything better. Pro tip: the best time to avoid the crowds is right after evening performances start at the surrounding Segerstrom venues. You'll be craving vermouth in no time.