House Cocktails Party Recipes

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Today, it's trendy to seek out local ingredients that are fresh and in season, but a couple of centuries ago, local was the only option. The greatest American cities were known for certain drinks — created from specific base spirits and mixers — because that's what was available there. As the city's culture evolved, the cocktails evolved too — and the elixir came to stand for the geographically unique experience. Jonny Raglin — "JR" below — of Comstock Saloon in San Francisco shares his favorite cocktails from the great American cities — each one having long represented its birthplace. While other drinks may be associated with these cities, the elixers below were actually conceived of or popularized and perfected in the heart of the city. Jonny dug up the original recipes and adapted them to the modern palate, using the very best ingredients and precise proportions. Pick a couple favorites and master the art of crafting them, with Jonny's help, in your liquid kitchen.

New York — Rob Roy

JR: "While the Manhattan is an obvious classic associated with New York, the Rob Roy holds its own and has deep ties to the big apple."

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Scotch
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters

Preparation:

  • Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with brandied cherries.

New Orleans — Sazerac

JR: "This is the epitome of classic cocktail and the staple of The Big Easy."

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz rye
  • ¼ oz simple syrup
  • 3–4 dashes peychauds bitters
  • Absinthe rinse

Preparation:

  • Stir all ingredients except the absinthe with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled absinthe rinsed old fashioned glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
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Chicago — Pink Lady

JR: "Perhaps not the defining drink of shot–and– beer–Chi–town, but this is no girly drink as the name implies. It's the only cocktail to my knowledge that originates in Chicago and is still served in reputable places there."

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. gin
  • ¾ oz. Applejack
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • 1 ½ oz. grenadine
  • 1 egg white

Preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake like hell. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Miami — Rum Runner

JR: "One could argue that the mojito is the most popular drink of Miami, but that drink comes from Havana. The Mai Tai originated in Ft. Lauderdale, but the recipe is so guarded that we would be kidding ourselves to re–create that recipe. This drink is from the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in the Keys, circa 1972. My recipe is an adaptation."

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. light rum
  • ¾ oz. gold rum
  • ½ oz. blackberry liqueur
  • ½ oz. banana liqueur
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • dash of grenadine
  • ¼ oz. (float) dark rum

Preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake heavily. Strain into an ice filled hurricane glass or the like and float the rum. Garnish with an orange slice and a brandied cherry.
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Seattle — Last Word

JR: "Although this drink was invented many years ago in Detroit, it is Seattle that is responsible for its resurrection and growth in popularity, specifically the gents down at the Zig Zag Café by Pike Place Market."

Ingredients:

  • ¾ oz. gin
  • ¾ oz. green chartreuse
  • ¾ oz. maraschino liqueur
  • ¾ oz. lime juice

Preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake heavily. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Los Angeles — Moscow Mule

JR: "This classic cocktail was created in 1941 by Jack Morgan at the Cock 'N Bull restaurant in Los Angeles."

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • ¾ oz. lime juice
  • fill with strong ginger beer

Preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients with crushed ice in a copper mug (authentic preparation), and garnish with a lime wheel.

San Francisco — Pisco Punch

JR: "Created by Duncan Nicol, proprietor of the Bank Exchange & Billiard Saloon (where the Transamerica Tower now stands) in the late 19th century."

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Encanto Pisco
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • ¾ oz. Small Hands (local company) pineapple gum
  • ¼ oz. still mineral water

Preparation:

  • Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake like the dickens! Strain into a punch glass of your choosing and add 1 cube of ice and a lemon twist for garnish.