Many cocktails are born out of deliberate, thoughtful tinkering behind the bar, others from basic riffing off of classic recipes. Or you may want to use what you have on hand, throwing the ingredients together, and hoping for a happy accident. The cocktail we’ve been obsessed with for the past couple months is a little bit of all of these.
We’ve long appreciated New Orleans-style classics like Cocktail a la Louisiane (rye, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters), the Boulevardier (bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari), and the Sazerac (rye, absinthe, Peychaud’s, sugar). But they’ve grown a little sweet for our taste of late, particularly from the use of the vermouth. Hoping to work around the sugar, we tossed rye, Campari, absinthe, and Peychaud’s together on a whim, and the result was a revelation. Somehow this seemingly intuitive combination wasn’t already a classic. We asked at nearly every bar that we drank in — from Boston to Austin, via Brooklyn — in our evangelizing.