Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3 p.m.
5. Patrick Piuze Petit Chablis
This year, we're going to publish our top drinks as well as our top restaurants, and I already know where the bone of contention will lie with my list; not all of these are cocktails. I don't want to put up something that may have rotated out of availability, since the best cocktails in Orange County are often seasonal items that don't last more than a few months as menus change. Also, there are some outstanding liquors out there that deserve to be more widely known.
A white wine? Surely I must be joking, right? No--and don't call me Shirley
. I am determined to do whatever I can to sway Californians
from this bizarre predilection for goopy Chardonnays
that taste like being smacked in the snout by a charred oak barrel full of Welch's
white grape juice. Petit Chablis
is a French
Chardonnay, with light fruity flavors balanced by acid. Patrick Piuze Petit Chablis i
s what I bring to Shuck when I want oysters
; it's blended between steel-aged wine and a little oak-aged wine so that it isn't overwhelming, and it's practically made for raw seafood. Buy it at Hi-Time Wines
for half the price of the cougar juice known as Rombauer Chardonnay
4. Rye Sour at Two 40 South
I love complex cocktails that are challenging to my palate, but sometimes I just want a simple drink, and Two 40 South's rye sour hits the spot. It has to have rye--Michter's, in this case--because bourbon is too sweet, and it's got a measure of bitter Punt e Mes vermouth to kill the overwhelming sweetness that dogs most sours. On a hot day, it hits the spot.