Those who read this space know I’ve written about Orange County cocktail czarina Gabrielle Dion before. She’s bar manager at Broadway by Amar Santana, where she moved after shaking (and stirring) things up at Charlie Palmer. She also consults, recently designing the bar program at Rancho Santa Margarita’s food-forward The Blind Pig, including a gorgeous RSM Sour that’s one of the Three’s a Trend city-name cocktails in January’s Orange Coast. And she holds a seat on the board of the Orange County Bartender’s Cabinet trade group.
Now, Dion’s adding retail to her cocktail curriculum vitae, opening The Mixing Glass at Costa Mesa’s The OC Mix to sell cocktail wares and supplies formerly unavailable locally. “There was nowhere within 60 miles to buy the quality of tools the best bartenders in the industry are using,” she says. “I was tired of having to wait almost two weeks for mail-ordered tools, and didn't like that I never got to hold or try something before committing to it.”
Something that The Mixing Glass offers along with the gear is expertise. As Dion says, when you order online, there’s no one there in your living room to help you. She’s assembled some just-add-liquor gift sets that really bring the craft-cocktail bar home. The Stirred kit ($75) comes with the straight-sided Japanese glass mixing beaker you’ve seen in your favorite bar, plus Dram bitters and tools needed to make classics like a Manhattan. Dion’s Moscow Mule kit comes with a pair of traditional copper mugs for the popular vodka drink, along with the ginger beer. Thirteen- and 18-ounce mugs are $65 and $80, respectively. Or, go for what Dion calls The Full Monty ($105): just about everything a home bartender needs to mix, shake, and stir like a pro. There’s a changing selection of groovy vintage cocktailware, too.
The Mixing Glass is in pop-up mode through the holidays, open Saturdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the permanent shop due to open Jan. 15.