Like a poorly crafted drink, most cocktail books are either too watered-down (1001 Pitcher Drinks!) or arcane (The Mesopotamian Mixologist's Manual) to earn a place on our bar. But Dale DeGroff, one of New York's most renowned bartenders, knows how to blend the right mix of simplicity and thoroughness.
Released today, DeGroff's new book, The Essential Cocktail, contains recipes for 100 classic drinks, from the Americano to the Zombie, and 100 of their best variations. The former Rainbow Room barman and godfather of New York's cocktail revival peppers his recipes with just enough narrative and guidance to entertain you until your drink is ready. Isn't that the mark of any good bartender?
(adapted from The Essential Cocktail)
Makes 1 drink
1 ounce VS cognac
1 ounce rye whiskey
½ to ¾ ounce simple syrup (1 part sugar dissolved in 1 part water), to taste
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Splash of absinthe, Pernod or other absinthe substitute
Lemon peel, for garnish
1. Fill a rocks glass with ice; let chill for serving. In a second rocks glass, combine the cognac, rye, simple syrup and both bitters. Add several ice cubes and stir to chill.
2. Toss the ice out of the serving glass, then add a splash of absinthe. Swirl it around to coat the inside of the glass, then pour out all of the liquid. Strain the chilled cocktail into the prepared glass. Twist the lemon peel over the top and drop it into the drink to garnish.
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