The Ugly Gentleman is a cocktail for the senses, more savory than sweet and all about the show. Untreated maplewood sets the stage, as an inverted glass captures its smoky, campfire aroma. But according to SideDoor lead barman Randy Thais, smoke only attaches itself to ice and fat. The remedy: drop in a single brick of ice to absorb smoke like a sponge. Amaro Abano, turbonado sugar, Angostura bitters and Rittenhouse do their roles, but it's a bit role that really steals the performance.
The smoky, boozy, umami cocktail is made possible by a hint of sesame oil. Why did they choose to add this in? Because why not? A little goes a long way when it comes to sesame oil. Adding some complexity to an already satisfying drink means we'll be ordering it again. But first, someone explain who Steve is!
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SideDoor is at 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 717-4322; www.sidedoorcdm.com.