It’s a sad truth that at events on the scale of Tales of the Cocktail, it can be hard to find a decent drink… yes, it’s not easy batching drinks for hundreds of people. But whether on a smaller scale in a tasting room or with simple but robust recipes, like Audrey Saunders’ drink below, here are a couple that stood out from the fray.
At the 7/24 Bartender’s Breakfast, coming in from a swift and steamy downpour post-Spirited Awards’ Dinner, there could not have been a more refreshing drink, handed to me with a smile, than Audrey Saunders‘ Bitter Admiral. Apparently, Wax Matman thinks so, too, calling it the best drink at Tales this year.
1 1/4 oz Plymouth Navy Strength Gin
1 3/4 oz Campari
5 oz Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice
Add ice to 12 oz. collins glass, measure in gin, Campari, juice. Garnish with grapefruit slice and a straw.
Don Q’s Esteban Ordonez stole the show on 7/23 in the On the Rocks tasting room at the Hotel Monteleone, featuring 23 spirits. After smoking a glass over red leaf tobacco, he mixed 90% Don Q Anejo with 10% Don Q Cristal, homemade bitters and a swipe of orange rind on the rim.
Poured over an artistic ice globe from Glace Luxury Ice, it was a smoky, sultry rum cocktail, with nuance and elegance. Maybe the most exciting drink I tasted this week.
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Though this grappa drink in 8/23’s Grappa: The Spirit of Life tasting room was not necessarily a favorite, I appreciated what Miami bartender, Gabriel Orta, was pairing with grappa: red pepper, raspberry, thyme. It would work for brunch, with a nice tart, round taste.
Rick Stutz created a joyous Kahlua breakfast cocktail in the Black Paloma, which was served in the Hotel Monteleone Kahlua Coffee Bar, along with some fine espressos and iced coffee every morning. This drink refreshed with hints of chocolate and lime, and a salty, bitter tinge:
1 1/2 pts Olemca Altos Plata Tequila
1 1/2 parts Kahlua
3/4 pts lime
1/2 pts fresh grapefruit juice
2 dashes of bitters
pinch of salt
stir with ice and top with club soda