There's a new address to remember for anyone interested in cocktails. It's not a rum bar on a lonely stretch of Western Avenue on the edge of Hollywood. It's not a swank lounge on La Brea, nor is it another downtown speakeasy. It's 320 Main, a three-month-old near-the-shore steakhouse in Seal Beach where owner Jason Schiffer has crafted a menu of classic drinks and original cocktails, such as his Gaucho Cowboy -- an Old Fashioned made with rye and tequila.
The bar is stocked with spirits such as Hirsch small-batch bourbon, Bols genever and Damrak gin, Zaya rum, and Metl Silver Mezcal. You'll see Schiffer behind the bar, a black trilby on his head and a shaker in his hand. Locals have taken note.
"We just came in one day and Jason was handing out tastings of cocktails served in shot glasses and we said 'Ok!' " says one local, sitting at the bar with his better half. He may be partial to Kona Longboard Island Lager, but her usual is now Schiffer's Sagabatida (Sagatiba cachaca, coconut syrup and fresh lime juice). "I love the coconut," she says.
Classics on the menu include a Mai Tai featuring Appleton Estate 12-year rum and the Corpse Reviver No. 2 with Hayman's Old Tom gin, Cointreau and Lillet, each followed by a paragraph-long description. Schiffer's own creations include the Muskrat Hunter -- Hirsch bourbon with Damiana, orange Fernet and bitters -- and the Scintillator -- Zaya rum with Grand Marnier, absinthe and bitters.
His Moscow Mule is made with Russian Standard vodka, fresh ginger puree (instead of ginger beer) and fresh lime juice, served in a traditional copper mug. "People love the mug," Schiffer says. Perhaps too much. "They keep taking them."
320 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 799-6246, www.320mainsealbeach.com. Open Tuesday to Sunday.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Betty Hallock