Food & dining

From The Bar

From the Bar: The Sawyer is a bitter standout

The Sawyer was designed by celebrated New York bartender Don Lee.
Liza Weisstuch for The Boston Globe
The Sawyer was designed by celebrated New York bartender Don Lee.

Music is an easy analogy for cocktails. Both, when done well, have balance, structure, and harmony, the result of a mastery of both art and math. The Sawyer, a drink designed by celebrated New York bartender Don Lee when he ran the famed Momofuku empire’s bar program, yanks the rug out from under the classic cocktail arrangement and puts bitters — a startling amount of them — front and center. You can think of that like assigning the timpani drum to a lead part in a symphony. In this drink, Angostura and other aromatic bitters that you might recognize by smell reveal their full-blown selves — dark, shadowy, intriguing herbal and spiced citrus flavors that render the gin’s familiar juniper a mere footnote. Suffice it to say it marches to the beat of its own drum, but its melody is gripping.

Liza Weisstuch


Makes 1 drink

2 ounces Beefeater Gin (or any London Dry gin)

½ ounce lime juice


½ ounce simple syrup (to make syrup: in a small saucepan over low heat, heat equal parts sugar and water until sugar dissolves)

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14 dashes Angostura bitters

7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

7 dashes orange bitters

1. In a cocktail shaker, pour all ingredients over ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.


2.Strain into a chilled rocks glass.

Adapted from “Bitters,” by Brad Thomas Parsons (Ten Speed Press 2011)

Liza Weisstuch can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @livingtheproof.