Walk into 320 Main on any Tuesday night, and you'll see Dave Castillo wearing an aloha shirt that seemingly sixty lorikeets had to die for. See, Tuesdays are tiki night at the cocktail capital of Orange County, and so the orders for tall glasses of rum with splashes of other stuff slide across the bar, with Castillo shaking and garnishing with aplomb. (320 Main doesn't go in for fruit salad on a stick, just so you know. Simpler is better.)
Don't get us wrong; we love a good Navy Grog or Three Dots and a Dash once in a (very long, massively hungover) while, but Castillo's signature drink, the Fifth Stage, is what's needed after a long day on the beach or in front of a spreadsheet.
It's made with Pernod, an old French man's drink, a syrupy sweet licorice-bomb substitute for absinthe, a thick liquor that's usually cut with cold water on at least a 5-to-1 ratio. Instead of water, Castillo uses pineapple juice–no, stay with us here, this is not Sex on the Beach–lime juice, and cucumber. Something about that combination balances the anise; it's a soupçon, just like breathing into an absinthe-washed Sazerac. The lime and cucumber make it a perfect summertime drink; it's a fast-drinking beverage, so force yourself to savor it.
Now, if only 320 Main were closer…