Is there anything Jason Schiffer can't make? Seal Beach is suddenly on the radar for even LA cocktail lovers, whose reviews invariably feign shock that such things could exist south of the Orange Curtain. Locals flock to the place on Sundays, when there's an all-day happy hour.
The cocktail menu at 320 Main reads like a headlong trip through the history of alcohol: Schiffer uses genever instead of gin in an excellent riff on the newly-hip-in-America Negroni. He's got a collection of amari that would make an Italian grandfather cross himself with happiness, and he swaps out vodka and puts rum into a Moscow Mule-like recipe called the Perfect Storm (the classic is also available).
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None of this, however, compares to the Sweet Bricia ($12), a mezcal-based cocktail named after Bricia Lopez, daughter of the Guelaguetza restaurant empire, and restaurateur in her own right. The drink has a bizarre list of ingredients: mezcal, tequila, apricot liqueur, crème de cassis, citrus and nutmeg. Not a parts list that inspires confidence--it seems like it should be saccharine--but the result is a surprisingly complex cocktail.
The drink is sweet, but the sweetness isn't overbearing, and the drink is fairly well dominated by the smokiness of the mescal that's the main ingredient. Even the nutmeg--who puts nutmeg in cocktails?--plays a role in providing a warm sensation to the palate.
The Sweet Bricia graced a one-time special cocktail menu which no longer exists--but ask for it by name and be careful of how easily it drinks.