Beyond the Bar

Danny Meyer picks his favorite cocktails

Danny Meyer's restaurants–Gramercy Tavern, The Modern and Tabla, among others–are so lauded for their food that we often forget that each is also a great cocktail destination in its own right.

In his new book, Mix Shake Stir, the restaurateur plucks the best libations and bar snacks from his New York empire, with the hopes of "blurring the lines between going out and coming home."

These days, Meyer says, people are hitting the bottle not with pricey magnums of wine but nostalgic classics and concoctions like Blue Smoke's Dirty Pete, an explosive riff on a martini that replaces vermouth with olive brine and hot-pepper sauce ("It'll light your tongue on fire," he says).

The cocktail hour of Meyer's St. Louis childhood meant a vodka Negroni for his father, Morton, accompanied by a plate of Triscuits and Boursin cheese. Today, Meyer prefers snacking on fried green olives and devilled eggs (both recipes are in the book), but his dad's go-to drink has become his own, with one additional tweak.

Named the Mortoni in loving tribute, it swaps gin for vodka and vermouth for tonic water. Make one tonight: It might become your own family favorite.

Mortoni

Recipe from Mix Shake Stir (Little, Brown)

Makes 1 drink

Ice

1 ounce vodka, preferably Ketel One

1 ounce Campari

1 ounce tonic water, preferably Q Tonic

1 lime wedge

1 orange wedge

2 lemon wedges

Fill a rocks glass and a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka and Campari to the shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into the glass, top with the tonic water, and squeeze the juice from the lime and orange wedges and 1 of the lemon wedges into the drink. Garnish with the remaining lemon wedge and serve.