Four Roses∙citrus∙currant syrup∙soda
A category unto itself, the Collins is served in the eponymous glassware and is, perhaps, the most suitable drink for a hot summer's day. We doctor ours by splitting the lemon with grapefruit juice and sweetening with syrup made from local New English currants. Johnny be good.
Pierre Ferrand cognac∙mint∙sugar
The julep (from the Persian gul-ab, "rose-water") is one of the archetypes of nineteenth-century cocktails. Before the phylloxera outbreak late in that century, European brandy and other imported spirits and fortified wines were far more popular than domestic spirits such as bourbon and rye. Hence, the mint julep, which we associate so much with bourbon, was originally made with brandy.
Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy∙maple sugar∙bitters∙grapefruit twist
Another classic exemplar of early cocktail history, the old-fashioned whiskey cocktail is simple, nay elemental: spirit, sugar, bitters, ice. Many put its inception at right around 1800, when most of the young United States was still drinking madeira and brandy. This Al's original is named for the beautiful town in the Berkshires that plays home to the inimitable restaurant and bar, the Dream Away Lodge. The Laird’s comes from Monmouth County, New Jersey - their distillery has been in continuous operation since 1717, making it the oldest of its kind in the United States.
Beefeater∙sherry∙Dolin dry∙dry curaçao∙absinthe
This drink has so many connections with other prototypical cocktails - is it the child of a Bamboo and a Martini? Is it a modified Negroni riff (1:1:1 - plus x and y)? Coming to be sometime between 1900 and 1925, the Dunhill was most likely invented at Hatchett's Bar in Piccadilly, London. Regardless of its roots, this cocktail achieves an impressive balance of strength and delicacy.
Hayman's Old Tom gin∙lemon∙orange∙vanilla
Old Tom is the type of gin that came to be long after Holland gin (Genever) but before the London Dry style took over. This sweeter, medium-bodied gin reigned for most of the nineteenth century (much like Queen Victoria herself). We love this sour because of its creamsicle flavor profile and fresh citrus punch.
This is a New English take on a Brown Derby which is, at its heart, a whiskey sour. The Boston Derby contains just three ingredients, all of which reflect the early American roots of cocktails in New England. There limes were a common winter treat and rum would have been not only imported from the Caribbean but also produced locally from molasses; maple is, of course, one of the region's most notable exports. And don’t forget the nutmeg!