Bartenders around OC know I’ll drink most anything except cocktails using ginger beer. It’s weird, because I love ginger everything, appreciate its snap—but I’ve always found its sudsy cousin annoying (then again, I might be the annoying one: I love everything banana except actual bananas). So leave it to Zov’s Bistro to school me on the beauties of ginger beer.
One usually doesn’t associate the classic restaurant with hooch other than fine wines, but owner Zov Karamardian has ramped up her bar program last year Now on the menu are Mules, Old Fashioneds and a beautiful libation using Hendricks and St. Germain. But it’s the Bulleit Buck that I’m drinking nowadays when popping in for lunch or dinner.
It’s straightforward: Bulleit bourbon, lemon juice, Peychaud’s, simple syrup, and my much-dreaded ginger beer. But the bartenders here let every ingredient have its say, with the ginger beer making a cameo that transforms the Bulleit Buck into something worthy of sipping on a muggy Bluegrass Country day, so refreshing and sneakily potent it is. Drink this up, and congratulate Zov on never resting on her well-deserved laurels—then order two more to make it a three-Buck lunch.
Zov’s Bistro, 17440 17th St., Tustin, (714) 838-8855; www.zovs.com