Little Sparrow is on the up and up these days, but the Santa Ana restaurant is no one-trick pony. Its bar, a speakeasy-meets-hipster enclave is just a short little sparrow-wallpapered walk down the hall from the restaurant, and is crafting some of OC’s most avant-garde cocktails. Here is the recipe for one of the bar’s bestsellers – the Smooth Operator – which left us feeling hipper already, even sans skinny pants and an ironic vintage T-shirt.
4 dashes “improved bitters” (angostura, Luxaro maraschino and absinthe blend)
1 ½ oz. rye whiskey
3/4 oz. Cynar
1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth allspice dram
Splash of water
Place a lime wheel in a double old-fashioned glass with a big ice cube. Add all ingredients and stir. Garnish with orange peel. Serves one.