Orange County has many bars and restaurants, each trying to attract the public to their establishments with tempting libations. Many are coming up with bizarre concoctions for specialty cocktails that are so unique and delicious that you can’t afford to miss out. Check out these five spots that deserve a visit and a drink.
Brü Grill & Market
The Brü Grill & Market is a fairly new Orange County spot having opened in December 2011. It has locally-crafted beer and wine from nearby wineries at very reasonable prices ($10 corkage fee). However, if you’re looking for a stiff drink, this spot prepares a delicious one that’s appropriate for the area. Come on in and order up an Orange County Sour. It is made with grapefruit juice, lime, blanco tequila, a few drops of bitters, a slice of orange. The whole thing is topped with meringue made from foamed eggs. This is the perfect libation for that lingering hot weather.
Memphis At The Santora
The original Memphis Cafe opened in Costa Mesa. However, in 2002, another location was added to the 1929 Spanish Colonial Santora Building in Santa Ana. Happy hour specials include bottled beer for $5, a glass of wine for $5 and specialty cocktails from $6. But hurry in and you can enjoy Memphis’ “coming of summer” specialty cocktail: the Summer Solstice. It’s mildly sweet with a flavor of fresh watermelon, made with two ounces of Bird Dog blackberry whiskey, one ounce of watermelon simple syrup, half an ounce of lime juice and two basil leaves. The ingredients are muddled, whipped and shaken with two ice cubes, then strained into a bucket glass with ice.
Three Twenty Main is a three-month-old steakhouse near the water in Seal Beach selling steaks, chops and seafood. Guests with reservations can come early and enjoy the happy hour where the draft beers and select wines are priced at $4 and house drinks are $5. This spot also features special cocktails that run 12 bucks a pop, but are definitely worth every penny. Order up Kristen’s Cup for a truly enjoyable refreshment. This cocktail comes with Earl Grey infused Beefeater gin, fresh lemon juice, clover honey syrup, lavender spice bitters and a lemon twist. It is absolutely divine.
The Cucina Enoteca is an Italian-inspired restaurant and wine shop. Along with house liquors and artisan beers, it serves specialty cocktails that boast all-too-familiar sayings. The That’s What She Said drink is made with Dewar’s scotch, Carpano Antica Formula, an Italian sweet vermouth and Cynar artichoke-based bitter, then poured over ice and served. It may sound unusual, but these ingredients blend together for a delightful palate pleaser. Happy hour is seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and serves Moretti drafts for $3 and martinis, well cocktails and wine for $5.
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This Irish pub in the heart of Newport Beach has been in business since 1974, and it recently opened the Celtic Bar in 2000 across the courtyard. Although focused on all things Irish, Muldoon’s serves up more than just your typical beer and whiskey. Stray from the usual with an eye-opening martini that’s inspired from not Ireland but France. The Rose of Tralee Martini is made with bits of strawberry, passionfruit and lychee, then mixed with Stoli vodka before poured into a sugar-rimmed glass topped with a rose petal. This is undoubtedly one of the most unique cocktails you will ever have the pleasure to taste.
Mona Graham is a freelance writer, writing for Examiner.com. Mona has lived in Orange County since 1958 and has a great familiarity with the area. Her hobbies are travelling, writing and photography. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.