From a Pilot's Notebook

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Since trading The Whistler for the Melman Brothers, Paul McGee has mastered the art of globe-trotting cocktails: French-slanted at Paris Club, Italian-inspired at RPM and, soon, southern and Tiki at the imminent Bub City and Three Dots and a Dash.

The Pilot's Notebook nods to many of these themes. It's a riff on Charles H. Baker's Pan-American Clipper, with Thai-style pomegranate drinking standing in for grenadine. Pok Pok's drinking vinegars (available online or at Publican Quality Meats), especially pomegranate and pineapple, are some of McGee's favorite mixing toys of the moment. For more 2012 Best Cocktails, click here.

From a Pilot's Notebook

Recipe adapted from RPM Italian, Chicago, IL

Yield: 1 drink


Splash of absinthe, to rinse


2 ounces Calvados

¾ ounce fresh lime juice

¾ ounce simple syrup (1:1)

⅓ ounce Pok Pok Som pomegranate drinking vinegar


Rinse a coupe with the absinthe, discarding the excess. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the Calvados, lime juice, simple syrup and drinking vinegar. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, then double-strain into the absinthe-rinsed coupe. Serve.

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