Here’s a Recipe for an Excellent Vieux Carré From Ward III’s Kenneth McCoy


Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice.

Today’s call comes by way of Kenneth McCoy of Ward III (111 Reade St.; 212-240-9194) and The Rum House (228 West 47th Street; 646-490-6924).

What’s your call drink?

The vieux carré.

What is it about this drink that you like so much?

It’s such an elegant sounding drink — it makes me feel regal just saying the words “vieux carré.” It’s a delicious drink with a sweet spice that takes me to another time that doesn’t exist anymore, plus it combines two of my favorite spirits, rye and cognac. They are beautiful brown spirits with a rich history in the cocktail world.

Has it always been your favorite? How long did it take you to find it? What was that process like?

No, not always. Working in and owning a whiskey bar, you gotta love the brown water, but you also get introduced to new or not-popular-anymore drinks. Not that this is a new drink — this is actually a very old drink that I ignored for awhile. One of Ward III’s regulars who is now a good friend, John Hedigan, is a fellow bartender who would come in and order them all the time. I hadn’t recalled hearing it mentioned in a while, so I made one for myself as well, and there you have it — a newfound love.

Could you name a few places around town that make your favorite drink?

Yes, John could make you one at Harefield Road in Williamsburg. He’s only there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays though, so I go to the Sicilian Scotsman Nino Cirabisi at Bonnie Vee on Stanton Street when John’s not working.

What’s the recipe for those that want to make it at home?

1 ounce Old Overholt Rye
1 ounce Delamain XO Cognac
1 ounce Dolin Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
A babies kiss of Benedictine

Combine all ingredients into a chilled mixing glass, add ice, and stir for 20 seconds. Pour into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.

What’s your second favorite drink? Recipe?

My second favorite is the classic old fashioned, which is so good but not always made well. Here’s my recipe for the perfect old fashioned:

2 ounces Rye or Bourbon (my preference is rye, specifically Old Overholt rye in a chilled mixing glass)
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 dashes of Regan’s orange bitters
Splash of simple syrup
1 teaspoon of brandied cherry juice

Combine all ingredients in a chilled mixing glass, Add ice and stir for 20 seconds. Pour into a chilled old fashioned glass over one large piece of ice. Garnish with an orange zest and enjoy!