Recipes from the whiskeys, gins, and tequilas highlighted in our Spirits of the West feature.
MIX IT UP: WHISKEY
What else can you do with your new favorite bourbon or rye aside from the same old-fashioned? Try one of these for your next pour.
A simple but classic Old West request that goes back at least as far as Harry Johnson’s 1882 New and Improved Bartender’s Manual.
2 ounces rye whiskey
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Medium-dry apple cider
In a collins glass, build the rye and bitters over ice. Lightly stir, then fill with cider. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Brown & Gold Derby
A dressed-up Wyoming Whiskey sour credited to bartender Jesse Brown of Lander’s Cowfish gastropub.
2 ounces Wyoming Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce local Lander honey lemongrass simple syrup*
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnish with a sage leaf.
*Honey lemongrass simple syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup honey, 2 stalks lemongrass cut into half-inch pieces. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
YOUR NEXT BEER COCKTAIL
Yep. Beer. Cocktail. In one glass. Say no more.
Black Butte Porter Bloody Mary
A rich, boozy Pacific Northwest-style michelada of sorts from the visionaries at Deschutes Brewery — and a fine justification for having porter for brunch.
1 ounce blanco tequila
4 ounces organic tomato juice
1 ounce Bloody Mary mix
4 ounces Black Butte Porter
Old Bay spice
Build tomato juice, Bloody Mary mix, and tequila in an iced pint glass rimmed with Old Bay spice. Slowly drizzle in the porter beer, and stir. Garnish with a lemon, pickled veggies, and/or a beef stick.
It was only a matter of time before some (hoppy) bitterness ensued between rum and its closest three chums — sugar, lime, and mint. This recipe from Cooking Channel’s Michael Symon calls for two glasses, because you’d never drink this one alone.
12-ounce bottle of IPA beer
3 ounces white rum
2 teaspoons sugar
8 – 10 fresh mint leaves
½ lime, cut into wedges
Muddle sugar, mint, and lime in a mixing glass. Add the rum and stir. Strain into two tall glasses filled with ice and top each with half a bottle of your favorite IPA.
MIX IT UP: GIN
Nothing against tonic and lime, but gin can handle much more than that. Up your game with these modern-classic crowd pleasers.
The Elder Stateswoman
A sweet, citrusy refresher from the Gray Whale folks that picks up where Tom Collins left off.
2 ounces Gray Whale Gin
1 ounce elderflower liqueur
2 ounces grapefruit juice
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into an iced collins glass, top with soda, garnish with juniper berries and a lavender sprig.
The Amelia Earhart
A business class-worthy French 75-style sipper from the makers of Aviation American Gin.
1 ounce Aviation American Gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce rhubarb jam syrup*
2 ounces sparkling wine
Shake gin, lemon juice, and rhubarb syrup with ice. Strain into a Champagne flute and carefully top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist.
*Rhubarb simple syrup: 2 pounds rhubarb, 4 cups water, 1¾ cups sugar. Combine water and fine-chopped rhubarb in saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, removing foam. Strain rhubarb liquid through fine mesh strainer, add sugar to liquid, bring back to a boil, and briefly simmer to let sugar fully dissolve. Cool, seal, and refrigerate.
MIX IT UP: TEQUILA AND MEZCAL
Treat yourself to one of these inspired cocktails with your next premium tequila or mezcal.
A sweet and herbaceous elixir from Nobu, Las Vegas, starring Tequila Casa Dragones and an oddly compatible pair: pineapple and cilantro.
2 ounces Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco
1 ounce piña cilantro puree
½ ounce lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
Splash of serrano puree
Shake all ingredients, strain over fresh ice into a salt-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
A crafty Ilegal signature drink, balancing fiery smoke with grounded vegetal coolness.
1½ ounces Ilegal Mezcal Joven
½ ounce Ancho Reyes
1½ ounces cucumber juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain over fresh ice in a rocks or collins glass, garnish with a cucumber ribbon.
For an extensive list of whiskeys, gins, tequilas, and beer, check out our Spirits of the West feature.
Photography: Images courtesy Distilleries and Breweries
From our October 2020 issue.