Hopscotch in Fullerton? Still packed after nearly nine months since its opening, still downtown's It spot for locals and drunk, pretty girls. Its food? Still getting better–the grub was so-so the first couple of times I was there, but it's improved in the past couple of months, and their recent hiring of Cody Storts (recently hired away from the not-even-open Volstead in Santa Ana, which still hasn't gotten the clue that its name is SO 2008) shows they're committed to upping their game. The cocktails? Potent from the start, inventive and exemplary–and now summer's here, which means a new cocktail menu.
I hit up Hopscotch after the most recent installment of my “Gustavo's Awesome Lecture Series!” at the Fullerton Public Library, and wanted to drink all of their new drinks: the mezcal one and the Pimm's Cup, a pisco concoction and something heavy on blackberries, my second-favorite berry after boysenberries. But the Smoke and Mirrors would be my choice for the night–a double layer of Scotch? ¡Sí, señor!–wait, that's Spanish. I mean, “Bonnie good time, lad!”
It seems a bit much: Scotch, absinthe, lemon, vanilla, cherry bitters, and a spray of Scotch mist. And in retrospect, I wish the vanilla was more potent. But the interplay of tart, sweet, and the double-Scotch treatment is a Southern California summer in a martini glass–you can see this poured out of jugs at beach parties as a craft jungle juice. Especially impressive was how the Port Charlotte scotch led the drink with its peatiness but didn't dominate, even letting its kid brother lend smokiness with the applied mist that served as both aromatic and spice. Can't wait to try Hopscotch's other drinks–and the best snack to go with the Smoke and Mirrors is the pickle plate.