The restaurant and bar that helped bring the mixology trend to Orange County treats regulars and newcomers to a taste of its most popular drinks.
The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar was one of the first serious mixology joints to capitalize on the craft cocktail movement, bringing the trend to Orange County with a menu that’s always been a favorite of food writers. So, to celebrate its 10th anniversary at locations in Yorba Linda and Rancho Santa Margarita, the restaurant is bringing back a baker’s dozen of cocktails nominated by regulars and selected by staff.
“I opened the restaurant to provide hospitality and a great experience to people,” Tony Monaco said in a previous interview about his mission. “We provide a service to our community and that's all we are focused on.”
Monaco and Executive Chef Karl Pfleider have always kept the food and beverages up to date. Pfleider draws on his Filipino, Asian and Hispanic background to create plates such as the Jidori Chicken Adobo in a soy-demi glaze, and mushroom saltado, a vegetarian take on the Peruvian classic.
Of course, you’ll find American comfort dishes from ribeye steaks to cheeseburgers and seafood. Drinks can hit that tried and true note too. “Our most well-loved drinks are our old fashions, new and classic,” Monaco said. “We have a secret mix of what whiskeys we put in there. And we sell a lot of them. So that's the kind of cocktail that we’ll always have.”
The Blind Pig Kitchen and Bar celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. PHOTO 1: Karl Pfleider, executive chef of The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar locations in Yorba Linda and Rancho Santa Margarita; PHOTO 2: The menu has been a favorite with local foodies. It includes innovative dishes and classics, like this cheeseburger; PHOTO 3: The Statesman cocktail (recipe below); PHOTO 4: The Yorba Linda location has plenty of bar seating. Photos courtesy of The Blind Pig
That said, the bartenders are always coming up with new ones and these 13 that are returning have earned the status of favorites. For example, The Statesman cocktail brings whiskey and dark, syrupy Amaro Averno together with lemon, mint and vanilla for a refreshing mix that’s balanced while a touch of bitters adds some intrigue and complexity that keep you coming back for another sip.
The You Sank My Battleship! is a tasty spirit-forward concoction that’s the perfect transitional drink. A slug of hearty bourbon says fall, but lime juice gives it a refreshing lift that’s ideal for toasting the last warm days of California’s seemingly endless summer. In the background, the nutty flavors of sweet amaretto and creamy orgeat bring it all together. It’s garnished with a whiff of baking spice just to remind you the holidays will be here sooner than you think.
The best way to enjoy these cocktails is at the bar, where there are happy hour as well as Sunday football specials, including a new menu of six sandwiches offered this season. But if you want to dazzle guests at home, the restaurant has shared two recipes with Culture OC. Here’s how to make them just like they do at The Blind Pig.
YOU SANK MY BATTLESHIP!
Yield: Makes one cocktail
1½ ounces bourbon
½ ounce amaretto
¾ ounce orgeat (The Blind Pig uses Small Hands brand, available at liquor stores)
1 ounce lime juice
4 drops aromatic bitters
Chill a coupe cocktail glass.
Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients except nutmeg.
Strain, pour into the coupe, and garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.
Yield: Makes one cocktail
1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
½ ounce Amaro Averna
½ ounce vanilla syrup
¾ ounce lemon juice
2 dashes Trinity Bitters
6 mint leaves
1 lemon wheel
Chill a Collins glass.
Add all ingredients except mint and lemon wheel to an ice filled shaker.
Shake and strain into the glass, garnish with crushed mint on top and a lemon wheel.