With the kids back in school, the tourist-traps have cleared out a bit, which means a trip to my favorite O.C. getaway, Laguna Beach. With the jeans rolled up and loafers in hand, a quick dip of the toes in the Pacific is almost as refreshing as a visit with my friend and bartender, Michael Rooney of Broadway by Amar Santana.
“Got any cocktails with Japanese whiskey,” I ask over Facebook messenger. “B’Ding!” my phone lights up moments later with a resounding yes. “It’s called A Smile Like Silk, featuring Hibiki Harmony, a Grecian pine liqueur Mastiha, lemon, and lavender,” he replied. Grecian pine liqueur? Lavender? I’m intrigued.
Loafers now on feet, I’m sitting at Broadway’s swanky, yet relaxed bar, sunglasses propped on my windblown hair, admiring the art on the thick wood plank walls. “So, can I try that cocktail and a splash of that Grecian pine liqueur?” I ask, plopping my cracked phone on the bar. The clear liqueur smells sweet, sort of like Ouzo, but with a resounding tree-like pine aroma instead of licorice. “It’s made out of distilled tree sap,” Rooney says quietly with a smile, mixing the cocktail as I snap his photo.
Served in a sturdy cocktail glass, A Smile Like Silk is like a ray of sunshine. Topped with a French lavender twig, it smells like fresh rain in a lemon grove. It’s earthy, uncomplicated, and a completely refreshing experience. Based on the classic whiskey sour, the drink isn’t a sweet mess, relying on Hibiki Japanese Harmony’s perceived honey-like backbone to complete the delicate balancing act.
The cocktail summed into four words? “Summer in a glass.”