Negroni Week ends soon, but there's still time to experiment with and imbibe what Orange County has to offer. For an easygoing menu with crafted libations, head into Hatch's Mid-Century Modern tiki room within Union Market Tustin. If Trevor is behind the bar, request the current iteration of his ode to Negroni known as Count the Ways.
Traditionally a gin/Vermouth/Campari blend, this goes against type with a rum base. Specifically, a Pilar Papa's brand in quantities so limited, Hatch purchased an entire barrel. One part Carpano Antica Vermouth enters the equation, but it's the infused, sweet Campari you need to watch out for. Packed with cloves, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla, orange zest and juniper berries (a subtle nod to gin!), it packs more complexity to an already potent bottle. To finish, Elemakule Tiki Bitters imparts a hint of grapefruit and some house simple syrup.
What you don't see in this photo: the way Trevor burns the end of a cinnamon stick, then inverts a glass over it while assembling your refreshment. It may make Pascal Olivier de Negroni, Count de Negroni, roll over in his grave, but you will appreciate the smoky nature of each sip. Zesty garnish echoes some components, but the end result is a smooth, balanced finish that coaxes your taste buds in every possible way. Savor it until it's gone, then repeat.
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Hatch, 2493 Park Ave, Tustin, (657) 208-2088; www.eathatch.com.