Summer is really rolling now. Trolley bells are dinging, surf kids are practically living on the sand, and Laguna Beach’s bartenders are inventing new ways to beat the heat. We asked some of the city’s favorite restaurants and bars to share some of their favorite craft cocktails with us. Each one feels breezy and fresh, just what you need after a long day on the beach…or the office.
The “1934” at The Marine Room
This Laguna Beach spin on a New York sour is named “1934” for the year The Marine Room first opened. It’s made with Eagle Rare Whiskey and topped with Laguna’s own Red Siren Zinfandel. The organic egg white foam creates the perfect airy backdrop to showcase the 1934 wine-stamp.
The Cali Cooler at The Deck
This is the go-to drink for locals dropping by The Deck for music or a sunset cocktail. It features Hendrick’s Gin, Shishito peppers, cucumber, lime-sour, ginger beer, and mint – creating a fresh flavor profile that goes down all too quickly when paired with a perfect sunset view.
Fresh Fruit Mojitos at The Rooftop Lounge
The Rooftop Lounge atop La Casa del Camino is perhaps Laguna Beach’s most famous sunset spot and undoubtedly has the widest selection of mojitos. The hand-muddled drinks come in eight flavors – each made with fresh fruit and Bacardi Silver.
Blackberry Press at K'ya Bistro Bar
A drink made with blackberries just feels like something you should be sipping on in the summer. It’s made with Ketel One, simple syrup, hand muddled blackberries, a splash of Sprite, and soda water.
Blackberry Lavender Whiskey Moscow Mule at Nirvana Grille
Chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales knows flavors and this drink (which she designed) shows it. The blackberries offer the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Lavender and ginger beer are both light flavors too, making this one of the most refreshing whiskey drinks in town.
209 Pome at Selanne Steak Tavern
The 209 Pome is a unique spin on the Pomegranate Martini. It’s made with No. 209 Gin mixed with Calisaya, Pomegranate, Lemon, and Pama Liqueur – the smart use of bitters and lemon keeps the 209 from having that overly-syrupy taste.
Passion Cooler at Three Seventy Common
This is a classic summer sipping cocktail. The drink is made with vodka, passion fruit, cucumber, fresh lime, sour, and ginger beer. Three Seventy Common has long been committed to craft cocktails and the Passion Cooler is further evidence of the program’s success.
Seaworthy at Driftwood Kitchen
This feels like the drink Jimmy Buffet would sip on while strumming a ukulele. It’s made with Sailor Jerry rum, strawberries, lemon sour, and basil. Like the son of a son of a sailor.
Pure Passion Martini at Sapphire Laguna
The Pure Passion Martini has the classic sweet and spice thing going for it. It’s a smart formula that works (as long as your lips aren’t chapped!). Vanilla Infused Ketel One Vodka is shaken with passion fruit puree and poured into a martini glass with a cayenne sugared rim.
The Dame in El Puerto at Broadway
This original cocktail is a summer-seasonal play on a Cherry Cobbler, one of the oldest and most-revered cocktails. Made with Gutiérrez Colosía Amontillado, summer Spice Cherry Oleo-Sirop, Lemon and Sour Cherry Bitters. Served over crushed ice in a julep cup with a mint sprig and cherry garnish.
Peach Julep at The Ranch at Laguna Beach
The peach julep is the perfect example of the southern influences on the menu at Harvest, the restaurant at the Ranch at Laguna Beach. We wanted to wax philosophic on the flavor, but with the right amount of prodding, they agreed to give us the recipe instead!
Peach Julep Recipe
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce Peach Puree (recipe below)
Juice from half of a lemon
5 mint leaves, plus garnish
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill a shaker 1/3 full of ice
Add rye, lemon juice, peach puree and mint leaves.
Fill glass half way with crushed ice
Strain over ice
Top with club soda
Garnish with a peach slice and mint sprigs
For the Peach Puree:
Remove the pit from 5 overripe peaches by cutting in half
Remove skin and place in a small sauce pot
Dust with 2 tablespoons of sugar and dash of white rum
Add one cup of water
Simmer until all of the peaches have lost their shape and are completely soft
Puree in blender until smooth
Chill before use
May be frozen