Beretta, San Francisco, 2008

Here’s another fun one that’s not in the book, from Beretta in San Francisco. As always, it’s worth locating the best ingredients – no substitutes. The clincher in this drink is real Grade B maple syrup. Definitely not artificial maple-flavored syrup-style food product, Grade B doesn’t mean it’s lesser quality than Grade A, it’s just darker, richer, more maple-y. And don’t be afraid of the raw egg white in this one – just make sure no chickenshit gets in your drink and you’ll be fine. You’ll “dry shake” the ingredients together before adding ice – this helps emulsify the ingredients. Adding ice and shaking hard gets an amazing, frothy, silky texture going.

“Rattlesnake” sounds like it will have a scary bite, but trust me: it’s painless.

THE KIT

Hardware: Shaker, Jigger, Fine-mesh strainer
Ice: Ice cubes
Glassware: Cocktail glass or coupe
Spirits: Rye whiskey (recommended: Rittenhouse)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Grade B maple syrup, Egg white
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Lemon juice, Peychaud’s bitters, Lemon twist

HOW TO

Chill a cocktail glass or coupe in the freezer at least ten minutes. Separate one egg, discarding the yolk. Lightly mix the egg white with a fork – this’ll help you measure it out.

In an empty shaker, add:
2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz Grade B maple syrup
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1/2 oz egg whites

Make sure you have a good, tight seal (egg whites can foam up and expand when shaken). Shake without ice for 20 seconds to blend. Add a few ice cubes and shake again, hard, for at least 30 seconds. Double-strain into the chilled glass using a fine-mesh strainer.

Pinch a lemon twist over the drink to express oils onto its surface, then rub the twist around the glass rim to coat. Garnish with the twist laid across the surface of the drink.

New York City (1908)

This formerly-obscure gem will convert your friends who still think of a cocktail as an “Appletini.” It’s fruity, tart, and snappy when done correctly. With only three ingredients in perfect balance, precise measurement is a must – along with the finest ingredients you can locate. The Laird family has been making spirits in New Jersey for 300 years (George Washington is on record having asked for their recipe) and they knock it out of the park with their 100-proof Apple Brandy. But mind their labels – Laird’s has another one called just “Applejack” that’s heavily cut with neutral spirits, skip it. Find the sweetest, juiciest limes you’re able to. And the crowning touch is a batch of homemade grenadine (easier than you think, recipe below).

THE KIT

Hardware: Shaker, Jigger
Ice: Ice cubes
Glassware: Cocktail glass
Spirits: Applejack (recommended: Laird’s 100-proof Apple Brandy)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Grenadine
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Lime juice, Lime wheel

HOW TO

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

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

2 oz applejack
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz grenadine

Shake well to blend and chill, then strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

GRENADINE

Real pomegranate Grenadine is miles above the common artificial kind and can be made easily at home. Mix one cup of freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice (if in season) or 100% unsweetened pomegranate juice (like POM brand) with one cup of white sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. When it’s cool, add one and a half teaspoons of orange flower water – easily found at Middle Eastern markets or online. Adding an ounce of 100-proof vodka will keep it from spoiling too fast. Keep refrigerated. Will last about 3 months.

Stirrings and Monin are good commercial alternatives if you’re not up for the five minutes this takes.