The Barrel-aged Boulevardier
Quality Bourbons and Barbecue (QBB), Mountain View
The Boulevardier cocktail is typically made with whisky, sweet vermouth, and Campari, giving it a balance of sweet and bitter flavors. QBB adds an orange peel garnish to its version for a fresh fall scent, said co-owner Jon Andino. The Boulevardier pairs well with barbecue or any other heavy meal. "The bold flavors need something with bold flavors to match the intensity," Andino said.
Here's how they mix it up at QBB:
1 ounce whiskey (Andino prefers bourbon or rye)
1 ounce Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Gran Clasico
1 orange peel garnish
1. Stir the above ingredients with ice.
2. Strain, crease orange peel into a glass and serve.
The low-proof Malarkey
Honcho Bar, Los Altos
The low-proof Malarkey cocktail served at Honcho Bar is essentially a Manhattan made with sherry instead of bourbon, said owner Rod Newman.
This version of the cocktail — sherry, sweet vermouth and bitters —
is boozy and complex, but also smooth due to the lower alcohol content of the sherry. Its versatility means it can be enjoyed with a light snack before dinner — think Marcona almonds or cashews — or as a digestif after a big feast.
"Generally speaking, sherry and vermouth are misunderstood and under-represented stateside," Newman said. "Thankfully, due to the surge of craft cocktail bar programs throughout the country, these and many other offerings have populated our drink menus."
Here are Newman's recommended ingredients:
3 ounces Hidalgo Faraon Olorosso Sherry
2 ounces La Quintinye Vermouth Rouge (French sweet red Vermouth fortified with Cognac)
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
1. Fill a mixing glass with ice and stir the above ingredients with a bar spoon for 10 seconds.
2. Using a cocktail strainer, cover the mixing glass and pour the mixture into a chilled martini or stemmed coupe glass (a stemmed champagne saucer).
3. Either garnish with Luxardo maraschino cherries skewered on a pick, or add a twist of an orange peeled from the rind using a citrus or vegetable peeler.
The 'Old Greg'
Bird Dog, Palo Alto
Need an excuse to have some chocolate with your after-work cocktail? Try the Old Greg, recommends Katherine Harper, the manager of Bird Dog. This one will pair well, so go ahead and indulge, she said.
This cocktail is Bird Dog's take on the classic Old Fashioned, which is typically made by muddling sugar and bitters with whiskey. Bird Dog's version uses anejo rum rather than whiskey. Harper said the bittersweet cocktail shares characteristics similar to amaro, the thick after-dinner Italian liqueur known for its herbal qualities.
Here's how they mix it up at Bird Dog:
Saffron tincture (1 large pinch saffron threads and 1/4 cup of high-proof vodka)
2 ounces Ron Zacapa Centenario (or any aged rum)
1/4 ounce Demerara simple syrup ( made with 1:1 ratio hot water to Demerara sugar)
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1. To create the saffron tincture, combine the saffron and vodka in a small jar and let it sit for at least 24 hours, preferably three to five days. After straining, pour the mix into a bottle with a dropper.
2. Rinse the prepared saffron tincture in a glass by adding a few drops into the glass, swirling and dumping out the excess. In the same glass, stir the rest of the ingredients with ice.
3. Serve with an orange twist.
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