Need a Good Group Cocktail? Dive Into Insa’s Modern Scorpion Bowl

Some drinks are made to sip quietly in dark corners, while others are meant to be shared in big spaces filled with the sound of friends toasting each other. The Scorpion Bowl is the latter, and it’s a drink that pairs particularly well with the Korean barbecue at Insa (718-855-2620; 328 Douglass Street, Brooklyn).

Dillon Mafit, head bartender at Insa, became a Korean-food addict when he moved to New York. The first time Mafit wandered to K-Town was exceptionally memorable because he’d never tried Korean barbecue before. He was smitten — which might explain why Mafit was so inspired to create an epic drink list for Insa. He wanted to make drinks that could stand up to the hearty, spicy flavors in Korean cuisine. Mafit eventually settled on one of the menu’s standouts, the scorpion bowl, because the drink (like the barbecue) was strong and meant to be shared.

“It was called the Scorpion because it delivered a sting the next day because it was so potent,” Mafit explains. He thinks the cocktail pairs particularly well with Insa’s menu because “there are so many spices and flavors going on [with the food menu], it’s really nice to have something that is bright and citrusy.”

To make a drink meant to be shared by up to six people, Mafit based the recipe on a single serving — similar to how the original Scorpion was thought to be made at the Hut bar in Hawaii. The basic elements of the drink are consistent across the board: rum, orange juice, orgeat syrup, and gin. The variations on those ingredients (and the addition of others, like brandy or cognac) depend on the bartender’s imagination.

Mafit selected a dark rum that wasn’t too sweet but was heavy on molasses. He also chose a straightforward cognac and Gordon’s dry gin thanks to its mild floral notes. Mafit’s version of the Scorpion Bowl also includes two unique deviations from the original recipe: plum wine and toasted cinnamon. The plum wine fits in with Insa’s theme (Mafit uses it in place of a grenadine floater), while the flaming cinnamon stick provides a nice aroma and visuals. After all, when you’re out drinking with your friends, it’s fun to have the drink put on a show.

When crafting the large-format beverage, Mafit approaches it like he’s making any other single-serving cocktail. “You always start small, perfecting the ratio as a smaller drink,” he says. “I do a lot of keg cocktails, bigger cocktails. From that, I have an understanding of how to move proportions and keep them the same. If you do it right, there’s not really much of a change that occurs with the drink.”

For guests who only associate Scorpion Bowls with the spring breaks of many years past, Mafit believes the hangover special deserves a new, ballyhooed rep. After all, the era of “serious” tiki drinks is upon us.

“We’re kind of entering an era where people are moving beyond the 1920s Prohibition idea,” says Mafit. “These are the drinks that need to be made and taught.”

Mafit’s recipe for both a single-serving and party-size Scorpion Bowl can be found below. He notes that the drink gets better the longer it sits — so you don’t have to polish off a party bowl in one sitting.

Scorpion Bowl (Single Serving) by Dillon Mafit
2 oz Gordon’s Gin
1 oz Eldorado Dark Rum
1 oz Paul Masson
1 oz Plum wine
2 oz Pineapple orange juice
0.5 oz Orgeat
0.5 oz Cinnamon syrup
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 Flaming cinnamon stick*

To make a party bowl (32 oz / 1 quart )
8 oz Gordon’s Gin
4 oz Eldorado Dark Rum
4 oz Paul Masson
4 oz Plum wine
8 oz Pineapple orange juice
2 oz Orgeat
2 oz Cinnamon syrup
4 dashes angostura bitters
1 Flaming cinnamon stick

*To prepare flaming cinnamon stick, soak in 151-proof rum for at least 5–10 minutes before lighting

Single Serving: Pour all ingredients — except cinnamon stick garnish — in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain and serve in a pint glass with fresh ice. Garnish with flaming cinnamon stick.

Party Bowl Serving: Pour all ingredients into a large bowl along with several large scoops of ice and stir until mixed thoroughly. (If you have quart-sized container with a tight seal, then the party-sized bowl can be shaken without ice prior to pouring into a serving bowl with ice.)


Check Out Sexy Taco/Dirty Cash’s Alternative Cosmo, the Victor’s Secret

Choosing a fun drinking spot at which to spend Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming. If you want to please your loved one without pressure, Sexy Taco, Dirty Cash (161 Malcolm X Boulevard, 212-280-4700) has a few tongue-in-cheekily titled cocktails in the works to loosen things up. The Harlem taqueria/cocktail bar’s menu is full of double entendres, one of which, the “Victor’s Secret,” is a twist on a cosmo, the drink linked inextricably to a certain quartet of ladies with relationship woes who live and have sex in the city.

Owner Brian Washington-Palmer wanted to create a tipple that would pack a punch but remain easy to sip. While he was inspired by the cosmo, he had Victoria’s Secret on his mind. Women may love shopping there, but he figured that naming a drink after a lingerie store might alienate some male guests.

“It’s very nicely balanced. Citrus and basil are kind of herbaceous,” Washington-Palmer says. The fresh basil delivers a distinctive flavor note, and the addition of elderflower liqueur adds a layer of sweet florals — it might be the most potent flower you’ll encounter on Valentine’s Day.

Victor’s Secret by Brian Washington-Palmer

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce basil syrup*

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass.

*To make the basil syrup:
Dissolve a 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup boiling water. Add a small handful of fresh basil leaves (eight leaves total should be good). Let the mixture sit for 1 1/2 hours to cool. Strain out the basil leaves.


The Ten Best Cocktails to Get You Through the Holiday Season

December days bring with them bags full of cheer, presents, and, occasionally, the full-on panic attack. If the thought of barely tolerable family functions, super-serious office parties, and the human form of torture known as ice-skating is turning you into a grinch, treat yourself to one of these amazingly soothing holiday cocktails. Which one is perfect for you?

For the Person Who Wears Red-and-Green Sweaters All Month: Gone Cho, Holiday Cocktail Lounge, 75 St. Marks Place

The holiday season wouldn’t feel complete without a stop at legendary dive the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, which has a lot to be thankful for this season. The reopened lair is offering guests a special green-hued cocktail, the “Gone Cho,” which makes use of a smoky substance that might remind you of a warm fireplace. “I wanted to create a somewhat savory syrup, and the first spirit I thought to use with it was mezcal,” notes head bartender Danny Neff.

1 1/2 ounces Ilegal Joven
1/2 ounce green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce peppered basil syrup
1 dash orange bitters
Egg white

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake. Strain. Pour into glass.

Rock Your Face Off Toddy
Rock Your Face Off Toddy

For the Person Who Is Always Cold: The Rock Your Face Off Toddy, New York Distilling Company, 79 Richardson Street, Brooklyn

If all you feel during the holiday season is nothing (because every part of your body is frozen), try this take on a traditional hot toddy. Featuring the Brooklyn-distilled Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye, made with cinnamon and dried cherries, the drink is mixed with honey and lemon for an ultimate throat-soothing remedy. If you can’t feel anything after drinking a hot alcoholic beverage, the holidays are the least of your problems.

2 ounces Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey syrup (mix 2 parts honey with 1 part water)
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Add ingredients to a toddy or six-ounce juice glass. Add 3 ounces of hot water and stir. Garnish with a half-lemon wheel in the glass.

Warm Tzimmes Punch
Warm Tzimmes Punch

For the Person Who Loves Winter Stew: Warm Tzimmes Punch, Timna, 109 St. Marks Place

It’s hard to outdo a time-tested recipe, but Timna’s beverage director Amir Nathan found a neat way to honor a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish sweet stew. The stew, which typically includes carrots, is honored here in punch form, with a carrot-cardamom syrup joining red wine and port in a glass. This might not be the way your grandmother remembered the recipe, but it should nonetheless make her jolly enough to give you the gift of lotto tickets. Says Nathan, “I grew up knowing about tzimmes from family holiday dinners. I never liked it as a kid, but today as an adult it reminds me of something mysterious. I thought port would be the best combination for a cocktail version of tzimmes, as it is sweet — tzimmes is often served as a dessert and at the end of a meal.”

2 ounces carrot-cardamom syrup
2 ounces dry red wine
1 1/2 ounces 10-year-old port

To make the carrot-cardamom syrup:
17 ounces carrot juice (cold pressed)
8 1/2 ounces demerara sugar
4 cardamom cloves
3 cinnamon sticks

For the syrup: Bring all ingredients to a boil. Turn the heat down and let simmer for an hour. Remove from the stove and let the syrup chill. Strain the syrup through a heavy colander and keep in a squeeze bottle or a container.

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker but do not add ice. Shake for 10 seconds, then pour mix into a 12-ounce mug or a teacup. Top off with hot water and enjoy.

Brady's Milk Punch
Brady’s Milk Punch

For the Person Who Thinks Every Holiday Is St. Patrick’s Day: Brady’s Milk Punch, The Dead Rabbit, 30 Water Street

When it comes to holidays, the Irish, for better or worse, are known for their ability to knock back a few adult beverages. The Dead Rabbit has one that features Irish whiskey, Irish cream, and sherry that’s perfect for capping off a silent night — or making it lively.

1 1/2 ounces Brady’s Irish Cream
3/4 ounce Clontarf Irish whiskey
1/2 ounce Oloroso sherry
1/4 ounce Giffard vanilla liqueur
1/2 ounce half & half

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake. Strain mix into a punch glass. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.

Chocolate negroni
Chocolate negroni

For the Person Who Recites A Christmas Story’s Ovaltine Scene: Chocolate Negroni, Dante, 79-81 Macdougal Street

Little Orphan Annie may have broken Ralphie’s heart with her shameless demands to drink more Ovaltine, but negronis are a proven commodity when it comes to making people happy. Dante makes one using Valrhona chocolate shavings, chocolate bitters, and white crème de cacao chocolate liqueur. We’re pretty sure adult Ralphie would approve.

3/4 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce Cinzano Rosso
1/4 ounce gin
1/4 ounce white crème de cacao
3 dashes chocolate bitters
3 dashes chile powder
Valrhona chocolate shavings

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir. Strain over one large ice cube in a glass. Garnish with an orange twist and top off with grated chocolate.

The Sugarfoot
The Sugarfoot

For the Person Who Likes to Pour Liquor in Soda: The Sugarfoot, The Wayland, 700 East 9th Street

Though whiskey and bourbon may come to mind immediately with winter’s first gust, you’ll probably find The Wayland’s Mackenzie Gleason with a root beer in hand. Gleason enjoys the beverage so much she decided to pair its flavor with Afrohead rum (which is aged in bourbon barrels to create notes of honey, vanilla, and oak) and sarsaparilla root syrup. The egg whites give a creamy rich texture while the syrup and black walnut bitters lend their hand to its beautiful autumnal color and flavor. The name “Sugarfoot” is a reference to an old western TV show called Sugarfoot in which the main character, Tom Brewster, would order a “sarsaparilla” soda.

2 ounces Afrohead rum
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 ounces sarsaparilla syrup
1 dash of Angostura bitters
1 dash of black walnut bitters
Egg white

Put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Dry-shake in order to whip the egg white. Then wet-shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with an Angostura flower.

Planet Hoth Toddy
Planet Hoth Toddy

For the Star Wars Fan: Planet Hoth Toddy

If December were a fictional planet, it would be Hoth. The frozen tundra that housed a rebel base, Tauntauns, and Wampas can now be found in toddy form. The chilled cocktail, which you’ll have to make at home, preferably wearing a Jedi robe or Stormtrooper outfit, depending on your allegiances, is made with rum, lime juice, maraschino liqueur, an egg white and simple syrup. Served in a chilled coupe and garnished with nutmeg, this concoction will have you feeling a force of some kind by the end of the night.

2 ounces Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 egg white

Shake all ingredients vigorously in a shaker with plenty of ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with nutmeg.

Pineapple Express
Pineapple Express

For the Person Whose Brain Is Already on Vacation: The Pineapple Express, The Happiest Hour, 121 West 10th Street

This drink is meant to evoke an escapist sensibility, which was, arguably, one of the main reasons tiki initially rose to prominence around the time of World War II — the Happiest Hour’s Jim Kearns

2 ounces spirit (recommended are Avua Prata cachaça, Zacapa rum, or Puebla Viejo Blanco tequila)
3/4 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce honey
1 ounce pineapple juice
Sage leaf

Shake and strain over the rocks. Garnish with sage leaf.

Slow Dancing, a punch made for group drinking
Slow Dancing, a punch made for group drinking

For the Person Who’s Hosting a Holiday Party: Slow Dancing, RedFarm, 529 Hudson Street

Whether you’re hosting an ugly-sweater party or observing Festivus, cocktails are best served with a side of friendship. “The ingredients in this cocktail bring to mind baking spices,” notes RedFarm’s Shawn Chenn. Designed to be enjoyed all night long, the mix involves a scouring of the supermarket fruit section for cranberries, cactus pears, lemons, and oranges. There’s also oolong tea and flowers in there, which may have you thinking spring can’t come quick enough.

9 ounces Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey
6 ounces Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
6 ounces cranberry purée
30 ounces Osmanthus oolong tea, lightly brewed
6 ounces fresh lemon juice
9 ounces apple juice
5-6 half orange wheels
8-10 whole cranberries
5-6 whole lemon wheels
1 whole cactus pear peel
3-4 edible pansy flowers

Add all ingredients to a Crock-Pot and set temperature to low. Cover and cook for 3 hours and stir before serving. Serve in a Chinese gaiwan teacup garnished with one candied orange wheel and one mint sprig.


For the Person Who Loves to Wake Up Super Early Despite Having a Day Off: R & R, The Musket Room, 265 Elizabeth Street

Warm apples and oatmeal are a great way to start a winter’s day, which is what attracted the Musket Room’s beverage director, Chris Barry, to those flavors in an alcoholic beverage. Barry’s interpretation of a comforting winter staple — apple cinnamon oatmeal — is reimagined in this cocktail, using Avuá cachaça, house-made apple cordial, pecan-oatmeal orgeat, Calvados, and lime.

¼ ounce lime
¼ ounce late harvest apple cider vinegar
½ ounce Pommeau de Normandie
½ ounce Christian Drouhin calvados
¾ ounce pecan-oatmeal orgeat (house-made at Musket Room. Home mixologists can purchase orgeat)
1.5 oz Avua Amburana cachaça

Combine ingredients. Shake with ice and strain. Serve in a collins glass.


Visit a Sustainable Seafood Pop Up, Read up on The NoMad, and Taste Obscure Liqueurs This Week

FEED Supper, Minton’s, 206 West 118 Street, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Join the fight against worldwide hunger this week. Chef JJ Johnson has created a one-night only, four-course menu showcasing dishes like pan roasted scallops and roasted goat. Tickets are $75 and can be secured here.

Eating More Seafood: Sustainable Seafood with Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, Loosie Rouge, 91 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, Tuesday, 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Chef Andrew Gruel of L.A.’s Slapfish is bringing sustainable seafood to Brooklyn for an evening of education through consumption. The five course prix fixe menu plans to showcase dishes including local Montauk tuna, Cape Cod littleneck clams, and a Maine sourced lobster burger. Additional sea creatures scheduled to appear on plates include a tilefish filled taco and longfin squid. Drinks are available but are not included. Guests can reserve their $70 seating of choice here.

The NoMad Cookbook Panel Discussion, 92 Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

If you’re craving chicken pot pie or tasty cocktails, the team behind The Nomad will share a selection of recipes from their new cookbook this Wednesday. Chef Daniel Humm, bar director Leo Robitschek, and managing partner Will Guidara will all be available to sign copies of the book following the discussion. Tickets start at $32 and can be secured here.

NYC AgTech Week Locavore Taco Dinner, The Farm on Kent, 320 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Learn about the city’s emerging urban farm scene during this five day affair, which is highlighted by a farm fresh dinner featuring aquaponic smoked tilapia tacos and kale. Additional week long activities include demonstrations, lectures, and tours designed for those with an interest in farming initiatives. A full schedule of activities as well as tickets to all scheduled events are available here.

Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados and Eau de Vie, Eau My!, SquareWine & Spirits, 24-20 Jackson Avenue, Queens, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

All brandies are not created equal — nor do they need to be consumed after dinner as some might think. Join sommelier Maegan Kovatch for a discussion on rare brandies; guests will taste French spirits like armagnac and eau de vie, both straight and in cocktail form. Score a $25 ticket here.


Sip a Perfect Mint-Infused Summer Cocktail: The Holland Swizzle

Hailing from Portland, Oregon (or Portlandia, as it’s known to millennials), Bathtub Gin (132 Ninth Avenue; 646-559-1671) bar manager Jeffrey Dillon became accustomed to seeing some pretty exciting drinks coming out from behind the bar. However, when one hears the call for a gin cocktail to make at the drop of a hat, Dillon recommends a holland swizzle.

A mojito at its core, the drink plays off gin instead of rum — an easy switch that allows the barman to display the beauty of his trade. “I’m not tailoring a suit. I enjoy that rapid-fire creativity,” Dillon explains. Although many guests are accustomed to London dry gin (which is typically herb-heavy), Dillon opts for one from a Dutch distillery, Nolet’s, that can stand up to the distinct flavor of fresh mint.

The spirit’s tasting notes include white peach and raspberry, among other floral scents, which in Dillon’s view makes it more approachable for those with preconceived notions about gin sipped on its own. “You have these cocktails that are made around appreciating the profile of the spirit; the majority of that is gin. You’re really making it about the gin you’re using. If you go back to the 1980s, you wouldn’t find a bar that had 33 gins,” Dillon notes.

Another important component to the drink: using crushed or pebbled ice to fill the glass. Dillon believes that using a big aromatic herb like mint in a cocktail requires a cold glass. Crushed ice chills a drink extremely quickly — those making the drink at home or ordering one at the bar should pay attention to the type of ice used, as the drink will become diluted if you’re caught up in conversation.

Dillon also recommends using a simple syrup comprising two parts sugar and one part water for a sweeter taste and fuller texture. Attaboy and Mother’s Ruin are two places Dillon loves to drop in to on occasion, but for those in need of a summer cocktail right this instant, try Dillon’s recipe:

Holland Swizzle by Jeffrey Dillon
2 ounces Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
Crushed ice
Soda water
Mint leaves

Put gin, syrup, and lime juice in a collins glass and muddle gently. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Top off with soda and garnish with mint.


How to Make a Pimm’s Cup, the Ultimate Summer Sipper

New Yorkers may be more accustomed to the traditions of the U.S. Open (like trekking out to Flushing Meadows on the Long Island Rail Road with a beer), but it’s Wimbledon that inspires Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen (87 Second Avenue; 646-606-2384 and 169 Eighth Avenue; 646-661-7711) owner David Clarke.

At the annual tennis championship in London, the Pimm’s cup is the drink of choice for locals and tourists alike. Tennis or no, it’s a refreshing quaff for outdoor sipping, but finding it here in New York can be a little bit more of a challenge. So Clarke put one on the menu at Cooper’s. “We’ve been open over three years, and we’ve always had a Pimm’s cup, no matter what the season was,” he says. “We think it’s the perfect summer cocktail.”

The drink is made with fresh mint, cucumber, and plenty of citrus. It’s a light cocktail good for any time of day. “I look at it from the nutritional value now,” says Clarke, adding that it’s a good source of vitamin C. “It’s definitely one of the more approachable cocktails. It’s a drink that should be enjoyed over and over again.”

And it fits Clarke’s vision for Cooper’s: When he decided to open a bar and a restaurant in Manhattan, he wanted to mix tradition with a fresh take on cocktails and beer. He found inspiration at Attaboy, which is where he drinks a Pimm’s cup if he’s not sipping one at his own bar.

Pimm’s Cup by David Clarke

2 oz Pimm’s
1 fresh strawberry
1 slice fresh cucumber
1 sprig of fresh mint
1 lime wedge
1 lemon wedge
1 orange slice

Place the strawberry, cucumber, mint, and citrus in a tall glass. Add the Pimm’s and ice. Top off with lemon lime soda and stir.

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. 



What’s the Best Whiskey to Use in a Mint Julep?

The 141st racing of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday guarantees the weekend will be awash in funky hats and Mint Juleps. But we’re not here to discuss questionable wardrobe choices. The official cocktail of the world’s most famous horse race is a straightforward mashup of bourbon, mint, and simple syrup, traditionally served in a silver cup on crushed ice. It’s refreshing, easy to make, and deserves recognition beyond the one day of the year when everyone is Googling its recipe. Of course the quality of the drink is directly proportional to the horsepower of the bourbon used at its core. And there’s one whiskey in particular that packs more mustard than a thoroughbred in the home stretch: Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. If you want to add a jolt to your Julep, consider this bourbon as a base.

When whiskey comes out of the barrel after years of aging, it typically clocks in at upwards of 60 percent alcohol. Traditionally that percentage has been ‘proofed down’ to a more manageable 40 (80 proof) before the juice hits the bottle. Only in recent years has the bourbon market seen the proliferation of cask strength releases, which are kept at the very same proof at which they left the wood. Maker’s Mark unveiled its own last year to considerable fanfare. Although it hovers between 108 and 114 proof, Maker’s Cask Strength remains as endearingly drinkable as its 80 proof counterpart. There is the trademark sweetness of the brand, courtesy of its wheated mash bill, and a subtle heated spice picks up before the finish line.

Although a bourbon enthusiast will be happy to drink Maker’s Cask Strength neat, or perhaps with a drop or two of water to enhance its wheated characteristics (and proof it down to taste), it plays surprisingly well in a mint julep.

Bottles, which look deceptively like original Maker’s, retail for around $40, and they’ve recently been spotted on the shelf at Astor Wines and Winfield Flynn, as well as countless bottle shops across Brooklyn.

If you’re planning to order the classic Kentucky cocktail at a bar, head to the Flatiron Room in Manhattan or Char No. 4 in Cobble Hill; both places keep Cask Strength on heavy rotation. If you’re fixing a drink for friends and family, make sure you gently slap the mint prior to mixing to maximize its aromas.

And don’t be afraid to drink this cocktail throughout the summer months. They call the Derby the fastest two minutes in sports, but julep season ought to last far longer than that.


A Compendium of 10 NYC Bartenders’ Favorite Classic Cocktail Recipes

In 2014, we asked a number of New York City bartenders to tell us the drink they order when they sit down for a cocktail. Most of them named classics. Each of them divulged a recipe for making that drink exactly right. We’ve compiled the 10 best recipes here, so you can see them all in one place.

Negroni Sbagliato by Raines Law Room’s Meaghan Dorman

1.5 ounces of campari 1 ounce of Cocchi Torino A healthy splash (approximately 2 ounces) of dry Champagne (or other bubbly).

I add a grapefruit and orange slice and serve it over ice in a wineglass.

La Louisiane by Maison Premiere’s Will Elliott

4 dashes of Absinthe Verte 4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters 1/2 ounce Benedictine 3/4 ounce Carpano Antica vermouth 1 3/4 ounce Rittenhouse rye whiskey

Pour ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake several times. Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The Suffering Bastard by Alder’s Kevin Denton

Equal parts gin, bourbon, and lime with a dash of Angostura (bitters). Top with ginger beer.

Vieux Carré by Ward III’s Kenneth McCoy

1 ounce Old Overholt Rye 1 ounce Delamain XO Cognac 1 ounce Dolin Sweet Vermouth 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters 2 dashes Angostura bitters A baby’s kiss of Benedictine

Combine all ingredients into a chilled mixing glass, add ice, and stir for 20 seconds. Pour into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Last Word by The Third Man’s Kasia Krupinska

Equal parts (.75 ounces) of: Mezcal Maraschino Chartreuse Lime

Shake ingredients with ice, double-strain into a chilled coupe.

Boulevardier with Templeton by The Clam’s David Giuliano

1.5 ounces Templeton Rye 1 ounce Campari 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth (preferably Carpano antica)

Stir, serve up, and garnish with an orange peel.

La Paloma by The Gander’s Rick Pitcher

Pour 2 ounces reposado tequila (such as El Tesoro or Tequila Ocho) and 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice over ice in a highball glass. Fill glass with Squirt. Top with a pinch of salt and a lime.

Paper Plane by Distilled’s Micaela Piccolo

3/4 ounce Bourbon (the original called for Buffalo Trace) 3/4 ounce Amaro Nonino 3/4 ounce Aperol 3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain, and serve up.

A Real Daiquiri by Bathtub Gin’s John McCarthy

2 ounces Brugal Extra Dry Rum 1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice 3/4 ounce Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Fine-strain into a chilled martini coupe. Garnish with a floated lime wheel.

The Perfect Manhattan by The Arlington Club’s Keith Nelson

It’s an ounce and a half of Michter’s rye, half an ounce of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, half an ounce of Dolin dry vermouth, and a dash of Fee old-fashion bitters, stirred together and served on the rocks with an orange peel twist, squeezed over the top so the orange oils go over the top. Always with Italian sweet vermouth and French dry vermouth.



Recipe: Taste New Orleans via a La Louisiane

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. Check out our Good Call archives for another round.

Today’s call comes by way of Will Elliott, head bartender at Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Avenue; 347-335-0446).

Opening a New Orleans-style bar in Brooklyn has certain requirements, one of which is to have thematically appropriate drinks. That means digging into the archives for drinks like the sazerac — or a La Louisiane. For Will Elliott, who helped open the popular Bedford Avenue absinthe and oyster den, a La Louisiane is the perfect representation for the spirit of the Crescent City. However, Elliott’s appreciation for the drink came after he’d fine-tuned his palate with high-proof spirits like mezcals and grappas.

“I got my start in being interested in liquor culture more through tasting,” says Elliott. “The bar that I was helping run prior to Maison Premiere was very much a spirits tasting bar. I was all about tasting high-proof spirits in small amounts and being comfortable with that.”

When he was asked to help open a bar in the vein of Old New Orleans, his experience with the La Louisiane came mostly from hearing others talk about it, but the bar decided to put it on the opening menu since it was contextually appropriate. The drink, a blend of Peychaud’s Bitters, Benedictine, vermouth, rye whiskey, and absinthe, has been a cornerstone ever since.

“It has all the representative things of New Orleans to me…it intrigued me,” says Elliott. “I train a lot of new bartenders, and if they’re not bartender choicing that, they’re not really representing us.”

If you don’t feel like making the trip to Brooklyn, Elliott recommends ordering the cocktail at Death and Co. and The Library Bar at the Nomad.

La Louisiane

4 dashes of Absinthe Verte
4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
1/2 ounce Benedictine
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica vermouth
1 3/4 ounce Rittenhouse rye whiskey

Pour ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake several times. Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

When in a nostalgic mood for his home state, Elliott opts for another whiskey-and-absinthe combination, Remember the Maine. He’s been kind enough to pass that recipe on as well.

Remember the Maine

2 teaspoons of cherry heering
1 teaspoon of absinthe
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
2 ounces rye whiskey

Combine ingredients in a glass, fill with ice, and stir vigorously. Strain into a chilled glass.



DIY: Cranberry Orange Relish Redux

So the Big Meal is almost upon us. You’re a Thanksgiving house guest and you haven’t even prepared a dish to bring?! Of course not. Because procrastination is as American as Turkey Day itself. I know what you were thinking; just pick up a cheap bottle of wine or a six pack from the local bodega on the way. But you’re better than that. Here’s a last second dish that involves five minutes with a Cuisinart and a few ingredients that you possibly already have in your refrigerator. No fuss, no muss: Cranberry-Orange Relish Redux.

First, a few words about this seductive side dish. Cranberry-Orange Relish is so full of awesome, we can’t even begin to describe it. It highlights literally every other food on the Thanksgiving table. You want a bite of dark meat, white meat, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans? All of it, tastier with a smattering of the tart, sweet stuff on top. Heck, we’ll eat it anytime of year. We don’t need to wait for a special occasion. If you’re suffering from a random mid-day craving, the Cinnamon Snail Food Truck–famous for their vegan fare and creme brûlée donuts–makes a mean rendition atop their Thanksgiving-inspired seitan sandwich.

But this dish is simple enough to be masterfully executed by anyone with opposable thumbs. Now’s the part of a ‘how-to’ where you’d generally read a recipe. That’s what’s so genius about Cranberry-Orange Relish: no recipe needed. Just take out a few oranges, quarter them and throw in, like, a small carton of cranberries, add some brown sugar, maybe a few pecans and some orange juice and just start blending. Everything is made to taste. If it’s too tart, add more brown sugar. If it’s too sweet, more cranberries. The only advice we can offer with certainty is that you shouldn’t over-process, because it’s nice to have noticeable shards of zest and berry for textural significance.

So what are you waiting for? Snatch the dusty, old Cuisinart from under your kitchen cabinet and snap to it. Your value as a house guest is about to increase dramatically. Enjoy your Thanksgiving — and don’t say we never did anything for you.