Sugar House in Detroit has launched a new cocktail menu with both seasonal drinks and 100 Classics "carefully selected & perfected for your consideration".
I asked Dave Kwiatkowski what the criteria were for being on the list - Most popular? Essential? Best?
His answer was a little bit more involved than I expected but interesting.
I started out by picking my favorite classics (Manhattan, Sidecar, Gimlet, etc.) and made each one, dialing in the recipe until I was happy with the result. Once I had those (maybe 40 all in all) I started digging thru old books, looking for familiar names that maybe I had forgotten about (Stinger, Presbyterian, Suffering Bastard,) - stuff that I couldn't make by memory, but wasn't completely unknown to me. I went thru and made each one of those, keeping some, ditching some. At that point I probably had 75, so I started going thru any old books I could get my hands on and trying out anything that looked interesting... The fallout on these last recipes was much greater (if you've ever actually made the drinks in Baker's Gentleman's Companion you know what I'm talking about.) But after a while I found enough to fill out the list that I could get behind. That's where the drinks like the Hanky Panky, Brown Derby, etc., came from. Some of them, like the West India Couperee (cognac, cointreau & vanilla ice cream) are amazing, but it's just not worth having ice cream on hand in the off chance someone orders one of them. And then of course there were some revisions like when Wondrich unearthed the original recipe for the Singapore Sling (my recipe was totally wrong), and Beachbum Jerry found the Zombie recipe from Don the Beachcomber's...
So, I suppose if I had to categorize this list, I'd say they are the 100 best classics I've ever heard of and made with satisfactory results. Every drink on here I consider an excellent mixed drink. Having said that, there's always room for change.So here they are:
It might be fun to compare these with the 100 Classic Cocktails Bobby Heugel Says You Should Try.
The seasonal drinks look pretty good too. I've pasted them below.
Spirits (your choice), lemon and ginger, shaken hard and poured unstrained into a rocks glass, and garnished with Angostura.
Here’s a few suggestions...
Bourbon Branch w/ Four Roses 8
Gin Branch w/ Beefeater & Barenjager 9
Brandy Branch w/ Chalfonte VSOP 9
Rum Branch w/ Cruzan Black & Brugal Anejo 10
Scotch Branch w/ Laphroaig & White Horse 12
Mezcal Branch w/ Sombra & El Jimador 12
The Cooper’s Julep 12
Courvoisier VS, balsamic-pineapple shrub, demerara & mint.
Stirred over crushed ice, laced with Smith & Cross rum.
Ceremonies Out of the Air 9
Brugal Extra Viejo, Nux Alpina walnut liqueur, jasmine syrup,
lemon and yuzu bitters, shaken and served up in a coupe.
Crimson Dynamo 13
Laphroaig Scotch, Campari & Luxardo Maraschino,
stirred and served up in a coupe.
Downtown Nonino Brown 12
Barsol pisco, Amaro Nonino, Peychaud’s bitters & lemon.
Stirred, served down in a rocks glass over a large cube.
Forager’s Old Fashioned 8
Brugal Anejo, White Horse blended Scotch, canela bark syrup and wild ginger root bitters, stirred in a rocks glass over ice.
Ghost Forest 12
Four Roses bourbon, Campari, Marie Brizard white cacao, cointreau & egg white. Shaken and served up in a chilled coupe set.
Green Sky 12
Vieux Carre absinthe, Benedictine, Luxardo Maraschino, lime & a whole egg. Shaken and served up in a chilled coupe set.
Milagro Anejo tequila, coffee bean-infused Carpano Antica vermouth, Marie Brizard raspberry liqueur & lemon bitters.
Stirred, and served down in a rocks glass.
The Knackery Cocktail 12
Four Roses bourbon, Benedictine, lime, peach preserves, peach
bitters & fresh mint. Shaken and served down over ice.
Hennessey VS Cognac, vanilla-infused Punt e Mes, clove syrup & orange bitters, hickory smoked and served up in a chilled coupe.
Medicated Genius 9
White Horse blended Scotch, Bonal Gentiane, Wray & Nephew rum, rosemary-caramel syrup & orange bitters.
Stirred over ice in a rocks glass.
Ninth-Grade Cigarette 12
Chalfonte VSOP Cognac, Belle de Brillet, peach preserves,
clove syrup & lemon. Shaken , and served up in a coupe.
The Patron Saint of Killers 13
Vida Mezcal, Saler’s Gentiane, Cynar, Green Chartreuse & salt.
Stirred and served down.
Pimm’s No. 5 Cup 10
House-made Pimm’s No. 5 (rye based), lemon, agave and soda,
served tall over ice, garnished with mint & cucumber.
Queen Anne’s Revenge 10
Beefeater gin, Cynar amaro, lemon, cardamom syrup, orange flower water & celery bitters. Shaken, served up in a coupe,
and topped with Segura Viudas Cava.
Roosevelt Park Swizzle 12
Basil-infused Havana Club rum, Cointreau, strawberry syrup,
lime & balsamic vinegar reduction. Swizzled in a Collins glass over crushed ice, garnished with basil.
Scotch Egg 12
Laphroaig Scotch, Quinto do Infantado tawny port, grade C maple syrup, bacon bitters & a whole egg.
Shaken and served up in a chilled coupe set.
Siren’s Curse 12
Brugal Extra Viejo rum, Far East syrup, lemon syrup & egg white. Shaken and served up in a chilled, lemon bitter-rinsed coupe set.
Wax Fangs 12
Knob Creek rye, Zucca Rhabarbaro & Ango bitters. Stirred and served in a chilled, Art in the Age Root liqueur-rinsed coupe.