How to Make a Great Left Hand Cocktail

When it comes to cocktails, it takes a special kind of drink to pull Marc Forgione bar manager Cary S. Goldberg away from something involving gin. But after a trip to Kentucky left him with a newfound appreciation of bourbon, he found himself frequently opting for a left hand cocktail.

Discovering the drink was, in Goldberg’s own words, like finding “a gift.” A night out with a friend on the Lower East Side introduced him to what first appeared to be a bourbon negroni, though he soon learned the recipe was slightly different.

“It’s bitter and it’s sweet, but not too sweet,” Goldberg says. “It’s got some of my favorite components, and it’s kind of a twist on an old favorite.” Working alongside chef Forgione, Goldberg was encouraged to put his own twist on the classic recipe, and found that substituting mezcal for bourbon helped keep the integrity of the drink intact while offering something new.

“We have a huge mezcal program, and it’s all about the story and Oaxaca,” he says. “We support good stories.” Vermouth helps tie the drink together, and, says Goldberg, “really makes the cocktail.”

When not enjoying his own version, Goldberg hits Attaboy — the bar where he was introduced to the drink — and Ward III for this tipple.

The Left Hand by Cary S. Goldberg

2 oz. Buffalo Trace bourbon*
3/4 oz. Cocchi vermouth di Torino (Carpano is always nice, but I love Cocchi)
3/4 oz. Campari
2 dashes Xocolatl mole bitters

Stir, strain, and serve up with a grapefruit peel.​

*Goldberg’s version at Marc Forgione substitutes mezcal for bourbon as the base spirit.

Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice. 

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