- Nostalgia by Greg Schammel, LaRue Elm (GSO)
Like a classic film noir, this drink creates its heady illusion by casting shades of light against a dark, mysterious background. Bartender Greg Schammel gives instructions to “place [the following] ingredients into a Boston shaker”: 25 milliliters Zaya rum, 25 milliliters Makers Mark bourbon, 25 milliliters lemon juice, 25 milliliters vanilla simple syrup, and six mint leaves. Then, he says, “add ice, shake well, and fine strain into chilled coupé. Garnish with a bouquet of mint. Enjoy!” I can envision spouting Neruda’s deep Spanish stanzas to a love interest while slinging this cocktail — or drinking it alone on the railroad tracks.
- The Rosewater Timmy by Adam Fought, Tate’s Craft Cocktails (W-S)
This cocktail creates a subtle palette of sweet, tart and dry sensations with its simple array of ingredients. Bartender Adam Fought suggests the Rosewater Timmy as a pre-dinner refreshment fit for your porch swing. To make it, shake 2 ounces Sutler’s Spirit gin and 1 ounce dry sherry with a half-ounce of local honey and 3/4 ounces of fresh lemon or lime juice. Pour the mixture over ice, and top it off with a dashes of ginger ale and rosewater. I love this cocktail because it could pair equally well with garden party hors d’oeuvres, meditative jam session listening or melancholy sunset moments.
- Carolina Moonbeam by Jesse Morales, not a bartender (GSO)
My creation brings enough colorful savor to set your taste buds flying, but packs a down-to-earth hard-liquor kick. For a true Carolina vibe, spin some slick John Coltrane on your vinyl apparatus while you mix. First, crush a handful of fresh sassafras leaves into a Mason jar and stir in 2 oz. Defiant whiskey and 1 oz. local clover honey. Next, slice a fresh farmer’s market peach and toss it in the Mason jar over ice. Then use a mortar-and-pestle to crush a fist-sized bouquet of backyard violets. Add violets to the jar. Finally, pour 2 ounces Dr. Enuf mineral water and 2 ounces hot Blenheim ginger ale over the jar’s contents and garnish with sassafras sprigs and violets. Swirl and serve.