Alembic, San Francisco (2008)

Daniel Hyatt at San Francisco’s Alembic came up with this one, a fine example of the West Coast “farm-fresh” style of craft cocktails – taking a well-loved classic (the Southside) and adding an element from the garden that elevates and enlivens the drink. In this case, fresh celery juice adds a neon punch of color and a subtle earthy flavor that unites the gin, lime, and mint just beautifully.

THE KIT

Hardware: Shaker, Jigger, Box grater or vegetable juicer, Fine mesh strainer
Ice: Ice cubes
Glassware: Cocktail glass
Spirits: London Dry gin (recommended: Beefeater, Tanqueray)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Simple syrup
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Celery juice, Lime juice, Fresh spearmint

HOW TO

Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer at least ten minutes.
Using the fine side of a box grater, grate a celery stalk over a bowl to produce juice. Strain juice to remove pulp.

In a shaker about a third-full with ice cubes, add:

1 1/2 oz London Dry gin
3/4
oz celery juice
1/2
oz lime juice
1/2
oz simple syrup
3 to 4 mint leaves

Shake gently to blend and chill, then double-strain into the chilled glass through a fine mesh strainer. Garnish with a large mint leaf that’s been lightly clapped between your hands to release its aromatic oils.

New York City, 1880s

They say this drink is named for three beautiful jewels (“bijous” in French): diamond (gin), ruby (vermouth), and emerald (Chartreuse). Of course, “Bijou” was also a popular name for Broadway theatres, and this makes more sense to me: if The Last Word is the refined-but-eccentric type who comes in late for the show wearing tennis whites, the Bijou is his weird cousin who lives in the weed-choked field behind the theatre. Many contemporary versions of this recipe tame down the vermouth and Chartreuse, but the first-documented instance (in Harry Johnson’s 1882 “Bartender’s Manual”) specified equal parts, like a proto-Negroni. Yes, a whole ounce of 110-proof, ass-kicking green Charteuse: the intensely herbal liqueur made by French Carthusian monks since the mid-18th century. Legend says it contains 130 different botanicals and each half of the secret recipe is known by only two monks at a time, who’ve taken a vow of silence. And not just about the liqueur. So goes the legend, anyway. A great drink is made even better by a great story – and drinks tend to lead to stories, you know.

Odds are, because of the date, this would’ve originally been made with Old Tom gin. But if you don’t mind an extra herbal kick, try it with a London Dry gin. Either style works great here.

THE KIT

Hardware: Mixing glass, Jigger, Barspoon
Ice: Ice cubes
Glassware: Cocktail glass
Spirits: Old Tom gin (recommended: Hayman’s) or London Dry gin (recommended: Beefeater, Tanqueray)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Italian vermouth (recommended: Carpano Antica, Noilly Prat), green Chartreuse
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Orange bitters (recommended: Regan’s Orange Bitters #6)

HOW TO

Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer at least ten minutes.

In a mixing glass about a third-full with ice cubes, add:

1 oz Old Tom gin or London Dry gin
1 oz Italian vermouth
1 oz green Chartreuse
1 
dash orange bitters 

Stir well to blend and chill, then strain into the chilled glass. No garnish.

Ritz Bar, Paris, France (1920s)

The American craft of the cocktail hit what many consider its “Golden Age” in the years just before Prohibition. Wouldn’t you know it? Right when things were getting interesting, the squares come along and blow the party – forcing the really great bartenders overseas to places like the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London and The Ritz Hotel Bar in Paris. This drink comes from the Ritz and was one in a family of “Corpse Reviver” drinks intended as hangover cures: easy on the palate, a little sweet, simple to mix. The original Kina Lillet in this recipe is no longer available – substitute Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano for a close-enough approximation. Or, if you can find it, try the excellent Tempus Fugit Kina l’Avion d’Or. Corpse Reviver #2 is a reliably successful (and gentle) arm-twister for those friends of your who say they hate gin – serve one of these and watch their eyes light up.

THE KIT

Hardware: Shaker, Jigger
Ice: Ice cubes
Glassware: Cocktail glass
Spirits: London Dry gin (recommended: Beefeater, Tanqueray)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Triple sec (recommended: Cointreau, Combier), Kina (recommended: Kina L’Avion D’Or, Lillet Blanc, Cocchi Americano), Herbsaint
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Lemon juice, Cherry (recommended: Luxardo, Filthy)

HOW TO

Chill a cocktail glass in the freezer at least ten minutes.

In a shaker about a third-full with ice cubes, add:

3/4 oz London Dry gin
3/4 oz triple sec
3/4 oz kina
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/8 oz Herbsaint

Shake well to blend and chill, then strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with a cherry pierced on a cocktail pick.