In an effort to make the world a better place for drinkers, one of the best bartenders in Orange County—Gabrielle Dion of Broadway By Amar Santana in Laguna Beach—is opening a cocktail mecca called the Mixing Glass in Costa Mesa's ever-hip OC Mix. She likens it to a Sur La Table for cocktails that will carry everything necessary to make worthwhile drinks. "There's nowhere to buy top-notch bartending tools within 60 miles of here," Dion says, "and online, you can't feel the tools, you can't tell what quality you're buying, and there's no one to talk about it with."
OC's cocktail scene still pales compared to other metropolitan areas, a fault of both bartenders and clients alike, but Dion hopes to remedy that, if even just a little. She won't stick her nose up at people who order vodka Red Bulls (but stop, please, because you're gonna give yourself a heart attack!); she would just like to help them understand why the alcohol we drink matters just as much as the food we eat.
The Mixing Glass will sell graceful, vintage glassware; state-of-the-art bartending tools; and a selection of carefully curated sprits. Dion will also carry her house-made syrups, cool tonics, and a collection of hard-to-find bitters pulled from across America. You don't even have to stop elsewhere for ice—the shop will offer cut blocks.
The Mixing Glass, 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa; www.themixingglassshop.com.
Moreover, she and her current employee want to piece together customized sets that can bring any home bar up to speed. "We come from the service industry, and we want to help people to create the perfect drinks for their party," Dion says.
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She also says the shop will help customers design sweet gift sets. "If your friend has a favorite cocktail, we'll be happy to create a kit just for that," she says, "and write the recipe down, too."
The Mixing Glass will also offer demos on ice cutting and creating homemade syrups, plus tastings that will donate part of the entry fee toward charity. Monies for artists and drinks for us—cheers to that! Look for Dion's shop behind Seventh Tea Bar in the next couple of weeks.