One of my favorite restaurants, Beretta, has launched a series of cocktail classes. Taught by hunky bartender Ryan Fitzgerald, the hands-on seminars cover the basic skills and focus on a different spirit. I sat in on a whiskey lesson where Fitzgerald led us through the process of making an improved whiskey cocktail while providing a fascinating history of the drink.
A long time ago there were no names for cocktails, and each drink consisted of booze, sugar, and water. If you went to a bar and wanted a drink with whiskey, you'd ask for a "whiskey cocktail." If you preferred a drink with gin, you'd order a "gin cocktail."
When absinthe was introduced to the scene, barmen started adding a couple of dashes to the whiskey cocktail; they called this variation the "improved whiskey cocktail." Fitzgerald takes the drink to 2011 by adding a few dashes of bitters and Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. It's potent, but it's perfectly balanced. Get his recipe after the break.
2 ounces whiskey (recommended: Wild Turkey 101 Proof Rye)
3/4 ounce Dubonnet Rouge
1/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
2 dashes bitters (recommended: Peychaud's)
3 dashes absinthe
Lemon twist, optional for garnish
- Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing tin. Add ice and stir to combine.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.
Makes 1 drink.
- Drinks, Cocktails
- North American