Last weekend, a little birdie led me to Orange Coast‘s 2014 Restaurant of the Year, Little Sparrow in downtown Santa Ana, where I’ve had some of the best cocktails yet. So good in fact, that I had trouble selecting just one to highlight this week. Utilizing the best of what’s in season, their rotating roster of cocktails has something for every palate.
First on the list was their special of the evening—A Pinch ($12). Made with fresh prickly pear juice and mezcal, this cocktail is equally matched in beauty and taste. What seems like a fruit-forward concoction served in a vintage-style coupe glass, this striking fuchsia-colored cocktail contradicts itself, as the flavor profile is anything but delicate. Surprisingly smoky and intense, thanks to the addition of mezcal, A Pinch stands up to its namesake, as it will do just that to your taste buds.
Now onto the next cocktail of the night—Southside Fizz ($10), which turned out to be my favorite—and apparently a few others, as I saw more of these cocktails flying off the bar than any other the entire night. A blend of gin, Meyer lemon cordial, mint, Aperol, pear bitters, and a float of champagne, this cocktail is the epitome of summer.
Not in the mood for gin or mezcal? Request the Barkeep’s Inspiration ($15) and get whatever you like. Let the bartender know your mood, liquor preferences and drink style—I certainly did—and they’ll create a signature cocktail just for you.
Little Sparrow, 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714-265-7640, littlesparrowcafe.com