A good bartender can do more than just master the hard shake and make decent small talk. He (or she) can also create drinks that encapsulate a place or an era. Where would Carrie Bradshaw be without her Cosmo? The mid-century ad man without his three-Martini lunch? Or, heaven forbid, the Kentucky Derby without a Mint Julep?
So it seems high time that Occupy Wall Street, a movement that started small but now seems to define the mood of fall 2011, got its own cocktail. Two bartenders, Duane Fernandez Jr. of Entwine in New York City and Nathan DeWitt, bar manager of Mise en Place in Tampa, Florida, stepped up to the challenge. Here are their recipes, which they created for (ironically) Russian Standard Vodka, and the ideas that inspired them.
Fernandez based his cocktail on the idea of rotten tomatoes, the classic weapon of choice when people aren’t happy. “But instead of making a mess throwing tomatoes, here is a cocktail designed to express angst. Vodka is the perfect base because it’s smooth and mixes incredibly well. Absinthe gives just the right kick necessary to create change and, of course, you have to have tomatoes.”
Angst on Wall Street
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Absinthe
1/2 ounce cucumber water*
Splash lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 cherry tomatoes
Black pepper and sea salt
Crush tomatoes in bottom of a shaker with a muddler. Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass rimmed with black pepper and sea salt.
*Peel and coarsely chop a cucumber, cover with water and chill, covered, for two to four days. Strain the mixture using a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids and keeping the liquid.
DeWitt named his cocktail “No Love In Oakland,” a reference to the violence that erupted at the protests there last week. “One of the first things you notice about this cocktail is that the three components are all from drastically different parts of the world, much like the great United States—many nationalities forming a whole,” he says. “Secondly, this is a strong drink—it’s all alcohol. That’s a reference to the strength and tenacity of the protesters—specifically Scott Olsen, two-time Iraq war veteran and former Marine, who sustained a skull fracture after allegedly being shot with police projectile. And finally, the flavor profile of the drink is a nod to what the protesters must have tasted when the police fired on them: smokiness, bitterness—and pepper.”
No Love In Oakland
2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounces peaty Scotch Whisky
1/2 ounce dry Italian vermouth
Stir ingredients peacefully in a shaker while contemplating liberty and then shake violently for five seconds. Strain into a martini glass and top with fresh ground black pepper.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.