With one of the most entertaining drinking weeks coming up, I’m going to be posting a number of cocktails over the next few days to celebrate both the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo. We’re starting off with a Rye take on the classic Derby drink, the Mint Julep.
- 3 oz of Slow & Low Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz of Simple Syrup, Preferably Demerara
Lots of mint—10 springs mint (Reserve 1 sprig for garnish)
Copper, steel or aluminum cup
Method: Muddle whiskey and mint in a mix glass.Add 1 large cube of ice. Stir, but not so much as to dilute – a bakers dozen revolutions. Add liberal amounts of crushed ice to more than fill the tin cup.Fine strain contents of mix into a glass over crushed ice. Garnish w 6 mint leaves.
So it’s not only National Beer Day, but it’s also National Tartan Day. To celebrate, you, naturally, need to drink Scotch. Like, right now. Here’s a cocktail option for you to celebrate and get your night started right—drunkenly.
Dewar’s Rob Roy
- 3 parts DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
- 2 1/2 parts Martini & Rossi Rosso vermouth
- 2 dashes bitters
- 2 dashes simple syrup
- 1 cherry
Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Also, if you’re in NYC, head to these bars and get rowdy.
Highlands — 150 W 10th Street
Andrews — 140 W 46th St
Caledonia Bar — 1609 2nd Ave.
Method: Build and garnish with sprig of fresh smacked mint.
- 2 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
- .5 oz Simple Syrup
- .75 oz Lime Juice
Method: Build in a Collins glass, muddle gently, fill with crushed ice, top with soda and garnish with mint.
If these drinks are any indication, visitors to Logan Square in Chicago are about to have a new favorite spot to go for mezcal-based drinks. Mezcaleria Las Flores, which will be connected to Johnny’s Grill, is set to open later this month and in preparation for that—and in celebration of National Margarita Day—Jay Schroeder, one of Chicago’s preeminent spiritual leaders when it comes to Mexican spirits, shared with us two ways to celebrate the holiday.
Traditional Mezcal Margarita
(Sin humo mezcal, lime, agave syrup)
With Schroeder’s traditional mezcal margarita, he uses fresh lime, agave syrup, and a sin humo mezcal. “Sin humo means without smoke,” Schroeder said. “The smokey flavor can sometimes be off-putting to Mezcal neophytes.” Jay’s keys to successfully executing this drink at home include mixing the agave syrup with a tiny amount of warm water. “It’s way easier to measure and find the balance of the drink when you mix the agave syrup with the warm water.” He’s also fond of straining the lime juice to remove the pulp before mixing, which, in addition to imparting the libation with a smooth texture, also keeps the glassware from clouding with bits of lime. “Straining the lime juice just makes the drink a lot more attractive,” Schroeder said.
Magnetic Pole Reversal*
(Sotol, cucumber pureé, coriander, gentian liqueur, fresh basil)
An option for more adventurous palates, Schroeder’s second drink selection is a throwback to his days as Rick Bayless’s Chief Mixologist, called Magnetic Pole Reversal, which earned its pedigree as a selection in Food & Wine’s 2015 cocktail guide “This one features Sotol,” Schroeder said, “It’s a different agave spirit from the north of Mexico.” Sotol, while similar to mezcal, is made from a plant called desert spoon and has an herbaceous, almost grassy flavor. Schroeder expertly pairs Sotol’s unmistakably green flavor with cucumber puree, coriander, a gentian liqueur, and fresh basil. “The result is bright and delicious, just in time for our (hopeful) early spring,” Schroeder said.
*Cocktail pictured above