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On the Rocks or Neat—You Can’t Go Wrong

Written By: Raphael Madrid
Photography By: Roberto Cerini and Craft House  Best Whiskey Bar OC

Craft House is the result of Chef and owner Blake Mellgren’s vision of a restaurant with “white tablecloth” food, sans a white tablecloth environment. With a focus on craft beer and cocktails (with whiskey at the forefront), Craft House has become Orange County’s premier location for all your whiskey needs. Allocated over the course of four years since their opening, Craft House boasts over 160 different bottles of bourbons, ryes, Scottish, Japanese and American whiskeys—you’ll be hard pressed to find some of their stock anywhere else. The place has become a real community for whiskey aficionados and newbies alike for their willingness to share their knowledge and educate each other in the workings of whiskey. With so many options, it’s hard to pick just one on their menu.

 

1 | Rabbit Hole Heigold – Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

“A brand that’s pretty new to the market and has been blowing my mind lately. It’s phenomenal.”  Aged three years, which is shorter than a normal time frame, this Kentucky whiskey is a unique interpretation of bourbon. It hits your palate with the sweetness of caramel and finishes with a bit of spice.

 

2 | Lost Republic – California Straight Bourbon Whiskey Best Whiskey Bar OC

“This is a whiskey you would expect out of Kentucky, but it’s Californian—and we’ve been trying a lot of California whiskies, but this one can stand up to the rest of them.” Barrel-aged in California, this small batch whiskey is sweetened with flavors of bananas, caramel and molasses.

Native Knowledge: Ask about their “Infinity Bottle,” aka Poor Man’s Pappy, an experimental house blend of different rye and bourbon that may taste different on each visit.

 

3 | W.L. Weller C.Y.P.B. – Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

This “Create Your Perfect Bourbon” bottle is an iteration of the ideal bourbon for a lot of enthusiasts.  “It’s just something fun and different.” says Chef Mellgren. This wheated bourbon is aged eight years and sips well with hints of vanilla, spices and oak.  

 

4 | Noah’s Mill – Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Best Whiskey Bar OC

A relatively lesser-known distillery, Noah’s Mill is robust in flavor with subtle hints of sweetness.  This small-batch bourbon goes down smooth but packs quite the punch. This is what you get for a little bit of hair on your chest.

 

5 | Clyde May’s – Alabama Style Whiskey Best Whiskey Bar OC

“Nobody knows what [Alabama Style Whiskey] means, but it just refers to the finish of apples.” The addition of apples in the process speaks to its soft undertone, creating a pleasant taste without being too complex.  

 

6 | Garrison Brothers – Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

“Distilled at 100 proof, this one is in your face and grows hair on your chest.” An ideal drink on the rocks, this 2018 small-batch whiskey is quite bold and distinctive with plenty of hints of oak throughout.

Native Knowledge: Craft House’s whiskey-obsessed bartenders will gladly share their knowledge and educate you on all things whiskey for as long as you’ll listen.

 

Craft House 
34094 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629
949.481.7734