“Hi, I’m Greg,” I say, introducing myself to the clean-cut bar staff at Social Costa Mesa. “I’m Greg as well,” says one, “I’m also Greg,” says the other. The tri-gregta complete, we waste no time getting down to serious Greg drinking business: fresh spring cocktails. “I’m Juan, says one of the servers,” as we all laugh like Gregs do.
“I hear carrot juice in a cocktail counter-acts any visual buzz from hard alcohol,” I mutter, trying to be witty and social, ordering Mommy’s Juice Box. The tall orange collins glass looks sort of like a Thai-iced tea, but smells juicy, ginger-spicy, with a kiss of herbaceousness. A kick of heat chases the refreshing drink and pairs well with their egg-topped house burger coated in a thick schmear of bacon jam and house pickles. With all that ginger, apple, and lemon, this drink is basically a cleanse, right?
Continuing my “healthy” cocktail binge of late, I’m surprised to see In Love With The Coco is served in a young coconut, freshly cracked and juiced, mixed with other boozy elixirs, then reintroduced to the festive natural vessel. This drink is as revitalizing as it is delicious; the only thing missing are sun reflectors and a chase lounge.
If it’s over 80F, the Slush Puppy is a throwback to those hot summer days where you might skateboard to 7-Eleven to grab a Slurpee. Social’s ice pup is balanced sweet sort of like those summertime drinks but the balance is tipped with some nice coconut, honeydew, and verbena notes. Bring your own spoon straw.
Craving a pyrotechnic finish to my spring flight, bartender Greg whips out a Fu Manchu tiki mug, fills it with various rums and fruit juices, tops it with ice, then this craziness happened:
Welcome to the Jungle is made with Jamaican Rum, Chartreuse, mango, ginger, aloe, lime, and pineapple, which ends up smelling surprisingly like a toasty horchata, yet tastes like a big boozy Zombie. I applaud, sip away another spring cocktail in Social’s rustic bar, finish the best burger I’ve had this year, and get gregarious with a bunch of Gregs in true Greg fashion.
Social is at 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa // socialcostamesa.com