Making a good drink doesn’t require a fully-stocked bar. We enlisted the help of local mixologists Andrew Ruth and Billy Giordano to teach us how to make their signature cocktails from home. Ruth is Barred Owl Butcher & Table’s bar manager, and Giordano is Room 38’s manager. With a shaker and a few ingredients at the ready, you can try your hand at making professional-level drinks without having to hit the bars.
Ooh La La – Barred Owl Butcher & Table
This naturally sweetened concoction combines citrus and peach flavors and will surely take your upcoming virtual happy hour to the next level.
Ingredients: ½ ounce honey simple syrup, 1 ½ ounces of your favorite brand of vodka, ¼ ounce aperol, ½ ounce lemon juice, ½ ounce orange juice and 2 dashes peach bitters.
To make: Place all the ingredients in a shaker, and mix well. Pour the drink into a cocktail glass. Ruth says you don’t have to worry about fancy presentation at home. “You can place it in a glass with ice and sip on it around the house.”
How to make honey simple syrup: In a pot over low heat, mix 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of hot water. It needs to be just warm enough to stir together until it’s blended evenly. You can store this in the fridge to sweeten other drinks, too.
Old-Fashioned – Barred Owl Butcher & Table
The Old-Fashioned is a staple in any bartender’s arsenal, and for good reason. With just three ingredients, you, too, can create this classic cocktail.
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon simple syrup, two to three dashes of bitters and 2 ½ ounces of your favorite whiskey.
To make: Pour the simple syrup and bitters at the bottom of a glass and mix. Then top off with your go-to whiskey and a few ice cubes. The drink should be fairly strong, so be sure not to dilute it with too much ice. To garnish, you can use an orange peel for bourbon and a lemon peel for rye whiskey. Ruth suggests using an orange peel for sweeter whiskey and a lemon peel for drier or spicier whiskey.
How to make an easy simple syrup: Place ½ teaspoon of white cane sugar at the bottom of a glass. Add 2 to 3 dashes of bitters on the sugar, and add about ¼ ounce of water. Muddle that in the bottom of the glass. Voila! Simple syrup.
Alternatives: If you have orange bitters around your house, that works as well. “Orange bitters is super-common and super-delicious in an Old-Fashioned,” Ruth says.
Moonshine Sour – Room 38
Bright, vibrant-flavored cocktails are a signature at Room 38. The bartenders use all fresh ingredients in their drinks to make sure they’re well balanced. “We do a lot of infusions, so a lot of fresh fruits and herbs go into our infused alcohol,” says Giordano. “And then we use a lot of fresh juices and fresh fruits, fresh herbs just in general to prepare our cocktails.”
Ingredients: 1 ½ ounces pineapple, jalapeño and cilantro-infused clear whiskey, ½ ounce agave syrup and ½ ounce fresh lime juice.
To make: Combine all of the ingredients into a shaker. Mix for 10 to 15 seconds then strain it over a glass with ice. Garnish with fresh jalapeño slices.
How to make pineapple, jalapeño and cilantro-infused whiskey: Slice two jalapeños once lengthwise. Combine jalapeños with seeds, half a pineapple chopped and a handful of fresh cilantro in a container. Add a bottle of clear whiskey. The mix should sit for at least three days before straining to use.