The change of seasons and longer nights offer the chance to get cozy and indulge in some holiday spirit. For Orange Coast, that means our annual Whiskey Classic, this year on Nov. 18 (get tickets at orangecoast.com/whiskey). You’ll find plenty of ways to wet your whistle around the county before that, and we point you to a few spots throughout this issue.
My choice for sipping is usually bourbon, and a good Old-Fashioned is always high on my list. Our beer and cocktails expert Greg Nagel suggests his favorite places to get five classic drinks on Page 54—he likes the Old-Fashioned at The Cellar in Fullerton. If you’re closer to the coast, try the same drink at Marché Moderne: It’s a generous pour with friendly staff who make you feel like an old friend. The one I tried at new Poppy & Seed in Anaheim was delightful with walnut bitters for a little more sweetness. If you want to make it a special occasion, the whiskey cart at Pelican Grill (Page 96) lets you choose your combination of whiskey and bitters, and the drink is prepared tableside. It pairs perfectly with fall menu items such as butternut squash soup and scrumptious shrimp and grits. I’ve even enjoyed a more casual Old-Fashioned at George’s Café before a show at Segerstrom Center; sipping while watching attendees scurry to the theater doors is a lovely reminder of how lucky we are to experience live performances again (pick one or two this month from our list starting on Page 30).
Our Whiskey Classic event is a good way to try some new brands or spread the word about your favorites. The last time we did this in person, everyone was raving about Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey. That didn’t sound appetizing to me, but after many adventurous drinkers vouched for it, I finally gave in and tried some. Delicious, and always fun to learn something new! We hope you’ll find plenty of inspiration for novel ventures in this issue and this holiday season.