Dave's Top Five Drinks of 2014

No, it isn't Pappy... but it's close.
No, it isn't Pappy... but it's close.
Dave Lieberman

As I was sifting through my notes and photos to develop this list, I kept having one particular thought: damn, was I a lush. How do I pick five drinks from a cast of literally thousands? Many worthy candidates were skipped here--which just goes to show that drinking culture in OC is finally starting to move beyond vodka "martinis" and huge fishbowls of cougar juice Rombauer Chardonnay.

5. W.L. Weller Special Reserve Bourbon

Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle was, before he was a bourbon magnate, a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller distillery. That distillery is long gone, but the name lives on at Buffalo Trace. This is wheated bourbon, and the best barrels of Weller whiskey go on to be blended into $200-a-shot Pappy Van Winkle. That's too rich for my blood, and I love the "leftovers", especially in an Old Fashioned. Pro tip: a small consignment of 107-proof Weller has arrived at the Mixing Glass in the OC Mix in Costa Mesa for $35 or so a bottle. Get yours quick.

4. Pisco Sour at Muelle Peruvian Cantina

The pride of Perú...
The pride of Perú...
Dave Lieberman

Upcoming Events

The Peruvians and the Chileans can argue about who "owns" pisco until the llamas come home; I don't care, as long as I can keep drinking pisco sour, and what better place to do it that at Renzo Macchiavello's new Peruvian dining room in the newly fancified Hotel Huntington Beach? Pisco brandy, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, bitters. Elegant, classic, surprisingly hearty, and it goes perfectly with the excellent ceviches.

3. El Paisano at Barley Forge Brewing

One of these is El Paisano... but it's hazy which one.
One of these is El Paisano... but it's hazy which one.
Dave Lieberman

Sure, there are more technically challenging beers at newcomer Barley Forge. You could go all in and order a DIPA with so many IBUs you could do laps in them. But I like the more downhome amber ale that is El Paisano. It's got a little agave in it, and I don't get more than a soupçon of that, but it's a quaffable beer in friendly surroundings. Oh, and it makes absolutely amazing fish taco batter.



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