Cocktails in O.C.: Raising the Fall Bar at Broadway in Laguna Beach

The comfortable bar at Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach is already a destination for Orange County craft-cocktail fans. This week, it offers a new slate of seasonal drinks, and travelers on the O.C. cocktail trail will want to stop by for a sip. I sampled a few at a recent preview.

Broadway bar manager Gabrielle Dion and bartender Ricky Yarnall developed the new drinks just in time for Dion to begin maternity leave. Yes, craft bartenders do have family lives—she’ll return in February. Of Yarnall, she says, “He is my indispensable counterpart, and without him it never would have come together.”

The affable Yarnall’s favorite drink is a martini, and the new fall Ammunition is a little twist on the gin-and-vermouth classic. High-proof (“hot,” in bartending terms) Beefeater gin is stirred to a deep chill, with house-made spice-infused white vermouth, a couple of dashes of Los Angeles-made Miracle Mile orange bitters, and garnished with a generous swath of lemon peel (all drinks on the list are $12 each). From the fizz family, a super-smooth Bank’s Closed (the name is 1920s slang for no canoodling) is a combination of dark Italian amaro, Rittenhouse rye whiskey, and lemon juice, shaken with an egg white, with a hit of fresh-grated nutmeg over the meringue-y float. The Bushel is playful and complex—100 Eats 100 Days food blogger Bobby Navarro, founder of Inspire Artistic Minds culinary arts nonprofit and friend of chef Santana, describes it as tasting like apple pie. It’s got Jameson Irish whiskey, Appleton rum, apple eau de vie, cinnamon syrup, a touch of lime, and Miracle Mile toasted-pecan bitters. Multi-layered and aromatic, but not overly sweet, the Bushel would make a fab dessert.

If you’re peckish while at the Broadway bar, don’t miss the crisped, charred Brussels sprouts, with chewy slices of savory, salty lap cheong Chinese sausage, and a mysterious, house-made sweet-and-sour sauce whose components chef Amar keeps a closely-guarded secret ($9).

Broadway by Amar Santana, 328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, 949-715-8234

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