Equal parts cocktails: Classic Manhattan

manhattanI was psyched to see a “perfect Manhattan” (aka a 50-50 equal parts Manhattan) take the top spot in Woodford Reserve’s recent drink competition.  Even the extra touches — 2 dashes bitters, 2 dashes absinthe — measure out in equal parts! That’s Jonathan Howard, a Nashville, TN bartender, in the photo above pouring out multiples of his drink for the lucky judges.

Jonathan Howard’s Classic Manhattan

1.5 parts Woodford Reserve Rye
1.5 parts Cocchi Torino Vermouth
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Absinthe

Grab a Lewis bag and crack several pieces of large format ice. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Equal parts cocktails: Any Which Way But Left

FullSizeRenderThe past month, I was asked to judge the Star of the Bar cocktail contest — and this cocoa-and-spice equal-parts stunner with just a hint of grapefruit (created by Matt Friedlander) was the NYC regional winner. No, it didn’t win because it measured out in equal proportions. But it sure didn’t hurt.

(P.S. Shameless promo alert: My book has a new name:  Shake. Stir. Sip.: 40 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts and it’s officially available for pre-order! If you click through you can also take a peek at the cover – which looks a little like the drink above.)

Any Which Way But Left

Matt Friedlander, Head Bartender, Fools Gold, NYC

Friedlander says that the name of this drink, an “anti-Valentine’s Day Negroni variation” is “a reference to Tinder-swiping habits in my bar after 3 AM.”

1 ounce Jagermeister

1 ounce Aperol

1 ounce Brovo Amaro No. 4

5 drops Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole bitters

Grapefruit peel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except bitters and grapefruit peel in a large mixing glass. Stir over ice for approximately 20 seconds and strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with bitters and grapefruit peel.

Equal parts cocktails: Dernier Mot

  This French-accented variation on the classic Last Word cocktail comes from Cuban Cocktails, by Ravi DeRossi, Jane Danger & Alla Lapuschik. (But the photo – and vintage glassware – is mine.)

Dernier Mot

3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse

3/4 ounce La Favorite Blanc Agricole Rhum

3/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino

3/4 ounce lime juice

Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled coupe.

Equal parts cocktails: The Warning Label

  I haven’t posted much here lately — and one reason for that is I’ve been at work on a new book project. The book is all about what bartenders call “equal parts” cocktails: drinks made with exactly equal proportions of ingredients. The Negroni (equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) may be the best-known version right now. 

But there are scores of others, too. I compiled about 50 of my favorites into the book, Sip. Shake. Stir., which will be published by Chronicle Books in fall 2016. 

Of course, as soon as I turned in the manuscript I started noticing amazing equal-parters that I had missed. Plus bartenders create new ones all the time. So I’m committing to posting one new equal parts cocktail each month until the book drops. 

First up is The Warning Label, as published in a great little book called Beta Cocktails.  It’s bitter and spirits-forward, like most of the drinks in the book. And to make it even more bitter, the glass is rinsed with Campari, maybe the only instance where the ruby liqueur isn’t used to add color.

The Warning Label

Maks Pazuniak, Beta Cocktails

1 oz Cynar

1 oz Demerara 151 rim

1 oz Punt e Mes

1 dash Regan’s orange bitters

1 dash grapefruit bitters

Campari (rinse)

Lemon twist (garnish)

Stir and strain into a glass rinsed with Campari. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Your ultimate New Year’s Eve cocktail: French 75 Punch

photo credit: Teri Lyn Fisher, for Cocktails for a Crowd

I know, it’s not even Christmas yet. But New Year’s Eve will be here soon enough, so I’m (re-)publishing one of my favorite celebratory punches. (PS, nothing wrong with serving this for Christmas eve either, if you choose.)  Here’s why this is the drink for your New Year’s Eve bash:

1. It’s sparkling, and you know you need something bubbly for toasting at midnight.

2. Between the fancy block of ice and simple orange-wheel slices, It looks great in a punch bowl. But it’s easy to put together and difficult to screw up. If all else fails, just pour in more bubbly.

3. As the ice melts over the course of the evening, the punch mellows a bit, but never waters down (thank you, gin), so the party keeps going until Auld Lang Syne.

French 75 Punch

From Cocktails for a Crowd

Serves 8

Total Volume: 7 3/4 cups (without ice)

The French 75 is a classic cocktail usually made with cognac, though gin is sometimes substituted, and that’s the spirit I call for in this recipe. It typically isn’t served as a punch but works quite well in this format. Serve this fresh, fragrant variation at any occasion that calls for toasting.

A simple chunk of ice, such as one frozen in a loaf pan or bowl will suffice, but for a special, decorative touch, consider freezing orange wheels inside the ice.

16 ounces (2 cups)  London dry gin
8 ounces (1 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces (3/4 cup) simple syrup
1/2 teaspoon orange bitters
32 ounces (4 cups) dry champagne or other sparkling dry white wine, chilled
1 large ice block
8 orange wheels, for garnish

In a punch bowl, combine the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters and stir well.

Just before serving, pour in the champagne and stir gently. Add the ice and garnish with the orange wheels.

To serve, ladle into punch glasses.

Like this recipe? Sign up at The Dizzy Fizz now through Jan 16 for a chance to win a copy of Cocktails for a Crowd.

Pictorial: pineapples as bar decor

Over the last couple of years, the pineapple has had a resurgence as “a sign of hospitality,” a historic refrain. No wonder I’ve been seeing an uptick in pineapples used as decor in bastions of hospitality – bars and restaurants. Here are a few recent examples.

At Dear Irving, as bartop adornment.  

Votive holder, at Mother of Pearl.  

Wall sconce, at MiddleBranch.   
Brass pineapple cocktail cup. This was at Tales of the Cocktail, but I’ve seen them at many bars around NYC and elsewhere.   

Floor tile, at Florian.  

 

 

Dan Smith Will Teach You How To Drink

If you’ve lived in New York for any amount of time, you’re familiar with the fliers posted in every record store and coffee shop promising, “Dan Smith Will Teach You Guitar.” They’ve been around for at least a decade, possibly longer. So I was gleeful to see that a new East Village restaurant, King Bee, had created a drink with that name when it opened last week, wink-wink all you long-time New York denizens. So gleeful, in fact, that I promptly tweeted:

Sometimes I forget that celebrities have twitter accounts. Even NYC micro-celebrities. So I searched, and lo and behold, there he was.

I was pleasantly surprised when he replied, though he dashed my meta-dreams of trying out his eponymous drink with me:

How many of us have a drink named after us? A little (sincere) flattery seemed in order.

Now, here’s the kicker. I guess the moral of the story is, if your brand ain’t broke, don’t fix it.