In the months before the Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s subterranean bar, Prohibition, opened, head bartender Brad Stanton spent countless hours obsessing over every detail, from a state-of-the-art ice-maker to stylish copper bar tools.
One of the things he obsessed over most was the glassware.
This classic cocktail dates back to 1937 and is named not for the time period, but for the stylish 20th Century Limited train from New York to Chicago. It’s a perfect example of how an aperitif (Lillet) and a liqueur (crème de cacao) can combine to lift a cocktail above the ordinary.
Nightingale head bartender Rhett Williams created this base to take the time-consuming part out of making an Old Fashioned, and to make it versatile enough to use with just bourbon, brandy, rye or rum. It’s perfect for hosting a crowd. Note that this recipe needs at least 24 hours before it’s ready to use.
Every cocktail starts with a base spirit. Every home cocktail bar should do the same. The question is, what spirits do you really need to stock at home? What’s worth spending money on (and what isn’t)? After all, those bright, shiny bottles can be expensive.
Stocking your home bar? Before you invest in spirits, tools and glassware (not to mention that handy bar cart), you should get some expert advice. Luckily, there are plenty of great cocktail books out there to help you make the right choices.
Here are the essential tomes to quench your thirst for both well-made cocktails and the know-how to make them.