Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

In this episode, Shawn Thomas and bartender Dan Sabo of The Ace Hotel explore unique Los Angeles flavors, mango paletas and spicy Sriracha.

Such Is Mango

serving time1


  • 1.5 ounces Grey Goose La Poire

  • .75 ounces Mango puree

  • .5 ounces Ginger Syrup

  • .5 ounces Lime Juice

  • .25 ounces Benedictine

  • 3 Drops Sriracha


  1. In a shaker filled with ice, combine Grey Goose La Poire, mango puree, ginger syrup, Benedictine, Sriracha. If you'd like, include a sprinkle of salt and a dash of molé bitters.

  2. Shake vigorously to mix.

  3. Pour over a strainer into a coupette glass.

  4. Garnish with a lime wheel and candied ginger.

Such Is Mango




Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox


- I'm Shawn Thomas, and this is Local Flight. Join me as we travel across the country to discover extraordinary bartenders and purveyors. We'll share their stories as they work together to create innovative cocktails using unique local ingredients. In this episode of Local Flight, we're using Southern California ingredients to create a cocktail worthy of the cultures that make up Los Angeles. In recent years, Downtown LA has become the go-to hot spot for art, culture, and cuisine, and the Ace Hotel has all three. This gorgeous, Gothic high-rise was built in 1927, and originally housed Charlie Chaplin's United Artists Theatre. There's more than one place to pull up a chair and relax here, but we're starting with the Mezzanine Bar where I'm meeting up with Dan Sabo. - John! - Hey. - What's up, man? - Not much, man. It's great to be here. - Yeah, welcome. - I've gotta tell you, the energy down there is incredible. Just walking in, this great crowd. It's a great space, man. - I have this really unique opportunity since we have LA Chapter, which is a restaurant bar, and then we have the Mezzanine, which is a sort of secluded cocktail lounge, and then we have upstairs, which is our rooftop cocktail bar. Anything that inspires me, and any sort of flavor combination, or technique, or drink, I can find a home for. - That's awesome. I'd love to try one of those cocktails. - Yeah man, let's do it. - Alright. - I think the drink that we're gonna make for you is from the LA Chapter menu. - Okay. - Call it a Suns of Capri. - Suns of Capri? - The drink was really inspired by California. We start with an ounce and a half of Reposado Tequila. - [Shawn] Okay. - [Dan] Which I don't think you can make really a California drink without. - [Shawn] Tequila. - Tequila. And then we're gonna do a half an ounce of Peach D'Vine, or a peach liqueur. - [Shawn] A little sweeter, not as sharp. - [Dan] Yeah, yeah, yeah. More of a neutral grain, instead of a grape base. - [Shawn] Okay. - [Dan] Not a brandy. And then we're gonna use a Carciofo Amaro. - [Shawn] Carciofo? - [Dan] Yeah, so an artichoke-based amaro. - Uh-huh. - For a little bit of acidity and sweetness, I'm gonna do a quarter-ounce of fresh-squeezed pineapple juice. - [Shawn] Uh-huh. - Gonna use a quarter-ounce of Orgeat, which is almond syrup, and almond is the state nut. - Almond is the state nut. I'm learning new things every day. - And then we're gonna do a quarter-ounce of Amontillado Sherry. Think hazelnuts, a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of that funk, but it's gonna kinda tie the elements of the bitter and the sweet together. It's gonna create that bridge. And then a couple dashes of orange bitters, and then we're just gonna add some ice. - Gotta tell you, I'm starting the season off right. That looks delicious. - [Dan] Then we're gonna give it, just to really like send that tiki vibe home. - [Shawn] Sure. Couple pineapple-- - We acknowledge the pineapple, and then a couple scrapes of nutmeg. - Nice. - [Dan] Just for aromatics on top. - I almost don't want to drink it, it looks so good. - [Dan] There you go. - [Shawn] Cheers. - Cheers, man. - Thank you so much. The aroma's fantastic, right off the bat. Yeah. I can see what you're going for with that tiki. Sherry dries it out, the pineapple gives it just the right amount of sweetness. I love bitter cocktails. It has that nice, bitter finish. - Thanks man. - Yeah, I love the fact that you've come to California now from New York to open an amazing place like this in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, and you've captured the essence of California in a cocktail. How about I take you, we go find an ingredient that really pays homage to the roots of Los Angeles? - Okay. - We bring it back here, and we make a cocktail. - Cool man. - Yeah? - Great. - Let's do it. - [Dan] Sounds good. - [Shawn] Los Angeles is known for it's ethnic diversity. It's a global city, offering food and drink from just about anywhere in the world. Almost 50% of the city is Hispanic and Latino, and on a hot summer day, exotic handmade popsicles called paletas can be found on just about every street corner. As opposed to the factory-made versions found in every supermarket and corner store, Los Alpes, a family-owned business in Huntington Park hand-makes theirs fresh daily, using natural, exotic ingredients. We're meeting up with Maria Soto, the owner of this 36 year old institution. It looks great. It's amazing how many flavors you have. - We take advantage of that we're in California. - Lot of great produce. - There's one season here. - [Maria] A lot of produce here, and a lot of fruit, so we're able to find almost everything here. You're each trying the mamey. Let me give you. This is a fruit. - All this color actually comes from the fruit itself? The mamey itself? - [Maria] Yes. - It's one of those fruits that tastes like four different things that I know, and I just can't-- It's great. - Yeah, I mean it's delicious. Put this one down and try the next one? - Unfortunately yeah, I guess we will. - The best-selling one would probably be the mango con chile. - [Dan] Mango con chile? - Yeah. - Cheers man. Mm-hmm. - I mean that's just all good things. - Sweet, spicy. - Savory. It's got all of it goin' on. - Salt. - You know, it's a very, very simple process. We start out by simply starting with fruit, chopping it up, adding sugar, salt in some cases, chile, depending on which one it is. Cream, a little bit of water, and then brining them. The brine is where the molds go in, and they actually freeze in there. It's salt and water that they sit on, and that's where they freeze. - [Shawn] Hmm. - Sticking the stick in there, and bagging them, and they're ready to go. So pretty simple process, and they're bagged from there, to here. - This is it. This is our flavor combination. - Okay. - But I have an idea of a way to sort of encapsulate even more of Los Angeles. - Alright. - Yeah? - Lead the way. Maria-- - Thank you so much. - [Shawn] Muchas gracias, thank you very much. - De nada. Enjoy. - [Shawn] Thank you. - [Dan] Bye. - Bye-bye. Southern California as a whole, is home to the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. In Irwindale, David Tran has made a name for himself manufacturing what is quickly becoming the nation's favorite hot sauce, Sriracha. David came from Vietnam on a freighter with 3,000 other refugees in the late-70s, and started by selling his sauce out of buckets to restaurants in Chinatown. Now, Huy Fong Rooster Sauce, named after the freighter, sells over 20 million bottles a year, and is one of the most recognizable and beloved condiments in the world. We're meeting up with Sabrina Martinez to learn more about the storied institution. - [Voiceover] Pepper season is between August and November, depending on our harvest. During that time, we receive about 100 million pounds of peppers. When they're picked off the ground, between two to four hours from picking, they arrive here fresh. Once the peppers are all ground, they travel through our pipelines to our mixers. In those mixers the base for all three products are made. - [Shawn] Alright. This is the base for all your sauces? - The base for all three of our products, so whatever different product we're making, additional ingredients would be added, and the sauce is made. - [Shawn] Awesome. Every step of the process happens right here. Even the bottles get manufactured and printed inside the factory before they get filled. - So once our bottles are blow melted and silk-screen pressed, they get filled, capped, and then sent on their way to be packaged. - [Shawn] There it is. There's that bottle. So many blue bottles. - [Dan] So many. - [Sabrina] Yup. Too many to count, right? - [Shawn] Too many to count. - [Sabrina] Too many to count, we don't even keep a count. - [Shawn] Wow. - [Sabrina] Yeah. - [Shawn] That many. - [Sabrina] That many. - [Shawn] Armed with a giant bottle of Rooster Sauce, and the inspiration from the mango chile paleta, I'm excited to see how Dan is going to use these in a cocktail upstairs at the Ace. Alright, Dan. We're back. Sriracha in-hand. - [Dan] Cool. - Here we go. - I'm interested to see what you're gonna do with this guy. - Yeah, should we dig in? - [Shawn] Yeah, let's do it. - Alright, let's do it. So I think instead of just doing like mango and chile, we kinda want to do like a mango fruit punch-- - Uh-huh. - With a little bit of spice, and a kick to it. - [Shawn] Alright, love it. - So I think the best way to start with that is with a pear Grey Goose La Poire. - Sure. Clean slate, with a little bit of subtle pear flavor. - We're adding sort of a really nice off-dry pear base to it, which I think plays well with the mango. - Agreed. - So we'll start with an ounce and a half of that. - Okay. - And then what we're gonna do is we made some fresh mango puree. Chopped them up, add a little bit of water, just for consistency's sake, 'cause we want that smoothness. - [Shawn] Did an ounce? - One ounce, yes. And then we're gonna do 3/4 of an ounce of ginger syrup. - [Shawn] Okay. - Then we're gonna add just a half-ounce of fresh-squeezed lime juice. - [Shawn] Okay. - For brightness. And then we're also gonna use some Benedictine. - Right. - [Dan] So just a quarter-ounce of that guy. - [Shawn] Sure, just to highlight. - [Dan] It'll accent the spiciness of the ginger, and complement everything else. And then the last two pieces de resistance, let's start with the Sriracha. - Okay. - The thing was hot. - Yeah, a little goes a long way with that stuff. - So we're gonna do five drops. And then, because we want a little bit of that kind of umami that we had, that savory-- - Accentuate that salt. - Just a pinch of some sea salt. - [Shawn] That's some fancy salt, man. - [Dan] It's fancy salt. - [Shawn] Comes in a tin. - That's a way to keep us from wasting too much. - I love it. I love it. - And then, the last thing, just to up that sort of savory, but add a little bit of the dark sweetness, we're just gonna add a dash of Aztec chocolate, or mole bitters. - Mole bitters. Nice. - Ice. - Yes sir. - And then we're just gonna kinda run it through a strainer just to... Cool. And give a little-- - [Shawn] Very nice. - [Dan] Lime-ginger garnish. - [Shawn] Thank you, sir. - [Dan] There you go. - [Shawn] Alright, here it goes. Cheers. - [Dan] Cheers. - Mango and pear, both very mellow. The Sriracha, so slight, so slight. I get on the tip of my tongue and the back of my tongue, but only after everything falls away. Try this. - [Dan] Yeah? - The mango actually gives it that creamy mouth feel that some of those paletas had. - But it's got this kind of savory, dark quality in the back. - Mm-hmm, it's on-point. - I mean it's not bad. - It's a good drink. - I think it's a great ode to Los Angeles, with everything that's going on here. - Alright, now's the fun part. - Okay. - It's time to take what we've created here, everything that is Los Angeles, and we have to name this drink. - No pressure. - No pressure at all. - We could go in a very classic direction. We could try to name it after some Los Angeles landmark, or the streets, but I gotta tell you, I have immediate associations with mango. - The character. - Played by Chris Kattan from SNL. - I know the skit well. - [Dan] Was like the greatest character of all time. - Yeah. - Can you tell a rainbow to stop being a rainbow just for one second? - I don't know, can you? - No. Such is Mango. - Such is Mango. - [Dan] Yeah. I think it defies explanation. - Such is Mango. Mm. Dan, I want to thank you for coming along with me on this journey. - Dude, thank you for having me. - Thank you for your talent, your expertise. Beautiful bar. This has been amazing. It's a great way to kick off the season. - Yeah, well thanks so much. - My pleasure, man. Cheers. I'll see you around. - [Dan] See you soon. - [Shawn] Alright, Dan.