Little Sparrow, the airy Cali-French restaurant in downtown Santa Ana from Bruce Marsh and wife Naseem Aflakian, is going through a transition period. Chef Melissa Ortiz recently took over for opening chef Eric Samaniego. The couple also passed their Boston shaker and strainer to new bartender Corbin Brown, who devised a more seasonal cocktail program.
I enjoyed the Bad Blood and Army and Navy, but preferred Brown’s IPA Cocktail ($11), probably since I’m such a big beer fan. He combines Buffalo Trace bourbon, honey, lemon, and grapefruit cordial and garnishes with pink grapefruit peel and foam crafted with bitter Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA that he suspends with lecithin and agar. The foam let the drink lead with citrus aromatics, and to finish with a bitter note that balanced the sweet tart core.