Snag a comfy patio seat with a view of Rancho Santa Margarita Lake, then watch day dissolve into night with an Old Fashioned. Tony Monaco and Jarryd Graaff’s eatery is known for gourmet American cuisine, an eclectic wine list and a rotating selection of craft beers, but the speakeasy-style bar also pours some of the best cocktails in the county, with an impressive attention to detail when it comes to quality ingredients. To that end, order your classic Old Fashioned with Copper Fox Rye Whiskey or Evan Williams Bonded Bourbon (or one of each to compare). Yes, your tab can balloon quite easily at $12 a pop but you should be sipping the stiff concoction as you would a martini anyway. Feeling adventurous? Ask if one of the barrel-aged selections is a rye, whiskey or bourbon. It’ll be $3 more per cocktail, but money well spent if you make a new elixir-of-the-gods discovery.
31431 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-0072; www.theblindpigoc.com.
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