August 2011

Cool Factor

The dog days just howl for long, tall, cold libations
by CAMPER ENGLISH / photography by BARTHOLOMEW COOKE

Different times of the day, changing atmospheric conditions and succeeding meal courses all call for a specific type of cocktail. But it’s the sweltering days and lasting sunlight of August that compel us to seek coolers replete with ice. We asked some of the America’s best bartenders based in warmer climes for a drink to chill us out, and their picks make use of a variety of methods and flavors to accomplish this task, from shaved ice and coconut milk to cucumbers and mint—even a splash of light beer. Cheers!

THE FRESH PRINCE

5 thin cucumber slices
2 mint sprigs
2 ounces Hayman’s Old Tom gin
½ ounce Krogstad Aquavit
1 teaspoon Green Chartreuse
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
4 drops lemon bitters

Muddle 4 slices of cucumber, then bruise a mint sprig in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add liquid ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Strain over new ice in old-fashioned glass. Press remaining mint to release aromatics and add. Garnish with remaining cucumber slice.

Larry Rice, Louisville
Rice, of 732 Social, is set to open the whiskey bar the Silver Dollar in a revamped old firehouse in September.


MARIGNY BUCK

2 ounces J.M Rhum Agricole
1 ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon turbinado simple syrup
1 teaspoon Kübler absinthe
½ teaspoon Bènèdictine
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 ½ ounces ginger beer
Lime wheel
Cherry

Mix all ingredients except beer with ice in shaker, then strain into collins glass with cubed ice. Add ginger beer, and garnish with lime wheel and cherry.

Bobby Heugel, Houston
An owner and bartender at Anvil Bar & Refuge, Huegel has a new restaurant and craft-beer bar in the offing. He is president of the Houston chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild.


SMASHING SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

2 slices ripe peach, plus 1 for garnish
¾ ounce simple syrup (1 ounce, if peaches aren’t quite ripe)
5 ½ lemon wedges
Mint leaves
1 dash cardamom tincture*
Black pekoe tea–infused bourbon**

*Cardamom Tincture
Lightly toast half cup cardamom pods, then soak in 1 cup of 100-proof vodka for a week.

**Tea-Infused Bourbon Add 1 tea bag or 1 tablespoon loose black pekoe tea per 8 ounces bourbon. Steep for 2 hours, then strain.

Combine 2 peach slices, syrup and lemon in mixing glass and muddle. Add mint, bruise it with muddler, then add tincture, bourbon and ice. Shake and strain into double old-fashioned glass. Add crushed ice to fill. Garnish with sprig of mint and reserved peach slice.

Eric Simpkins, Atlanta
A freelance bartender and coconsultant with Gentlemen of Spirit, Simpkins will be co– beverage director of the Lawrence restaurant. He also just started bartending at the Lawrence’s cousin bar/restaurant, the Sound Table.


WHAT I DRINK

1 ounce lemon simple syrup*
2 ounces Club Lemon soda
1 ½ ounces Gosling’s black rum
2 ounces Amstel Light
1 dash lemon bitters
Lemon wedge

*Lemon Simple Syrup
Make 1:1 sugar-to-water simple syrup. Mix equal amounts lemon juice and simple syrup.

Shake all ingredients except beer and bitters with ice in a shaker and strain into ice-filled highball glass. Top with beer and bitters and give a quick stir. Garnish with lemon wedge.

Todd Thrasher, Alexandria
Thrasher is a partner and bartender at the city’s new Virtue Feed & Grain, along with the bar PX and restaurant Eve.


CARLSBAD COOLER

1 ounce London Dry gin—preferably Beefeater
1 ounce Cocchi Americano
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
2 strawberries, plus a half for garnish
2 ounces plus splash club soda

Add liquid ingredients to mixing glass. Muddle 2 strawberries, then briefly but briskly toss with ice in shaker. Add club soda and strain into icefilled collins glass. Top with another splash of soda. Garnish with the reserved half strawberry wedged on edge of the glass.

Anthony Schmidt, San Diego
Schmidt is the bar manager and a bartender at the speakeasy-style bar Noble Experiment. It was among the first in the city to embrace the cocktail renaissance sweeping the nation.


FRIBURGO BLIZZARD

2 ounces Oronoco rum
1 ½ ounces coconut milk (be sure it’s not cream of coconut)
3 liberal dashes lemon bitters (Bitter Truth or Fee Brothers brands preferred)
½ ounce simple syrup
Lemon for zesting

Mix all ingredients in mixing glass sans ice and pour over shaved ice in old-fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon zest. Note: You can also prepare in a blender with ice cubes. The amount of simple syrup used will depend on the brand of coconut milk. It’s not fussy, though—simply adjust ratios to taste.

Rhiannon Enlil, New Orleans
A bartender at Cure, Enlil has been poring through the New Orleans archives to create an online historical cocktail timeline, the fruits of a scholarship from the Tales of the Cocktail festival.


VENETIAN SPRITZ

1 ounce Aperol or Campari
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
4 ounces Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta or Prosecco
1 orange slice

Fill wineglass halfway with crushed ice, add liquid ingredients and stir. Garnish with orange slice.

VERONA SWIZZLE

4 medium basil leaves plus a flower
4 raspberries
1 ounce grappa
1 ½ ounces Velvet Falernum
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
4 drops Angostura bitters

Muddle basil in collins or highball glass, and add 3 raspberries. Fill to the top with crushed ice. Add grappa, lime juice, simple syrup and Velvet Falernum. Top off the glass with more crushed ice, add bitters and swizzle. Garnish with fourth berry and basil flower.

Michael Shearin, Los Angeles
An advanced-level member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Shearin is beverage director at Drago Centro. He concepts cocktails with head bartender Jaymee Mandeville using Italian and seasonal ingredients.

  • VENETIAN SPRITZ<br/>
Cocktailian: Michael Shearin<br/>
Bar: Drago Centro, Los Angeles<br/><br/>
  • THE FRESH PRINCE<br/>
Cocktailian: Larry Rice<br/>
Bar: Silver Dollar, Louisville<br/><br/>
CARLSBAD COOLER<br/>
Cocktailian: Anthony Schmidt<br/>
Bar: Noble Experiment, San Diego
  • MARIGNY BUCK<br/>
Cocktailian: Bobby Huegel<br/>
Bar: Anvil Bar & Restaurant, Houston<br/><br/>
WHAT I DRINK<br/>
Cocktailian: Todd Thrasher<br/>
Bar: Virtue Feed & Grain, Alexandria
  • SMASHING SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN<br/>
Cocktailian: Eric Simpkins<br/>
Bar: The Lawrence, Atlanta<br/><br/>
FRIBURGO BLIZZARD<br/>
Cocktailian: Rhiannon Enlil<br/>
Bar: Cure, New Orleans
  • VERONA SWIZZLE<br/>
Cocktailian: Michael Shearin<br/>
Bar: Drago Centro, Los Angeles