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. Check out our Good Call archives for another round.
Today’s call comes by way of Will Elliott, head bartender at Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Avenue; 347-335-0446).
Opening a New Orleans-style bar in Brooklyn has certain requirements, one of which is to have thematically appropriate drinks. That means digging into the archives for drinks like the sazerac — or a La Louisiane. For Will Elliott, who helped open the popular Bedford Avenue absinthe and oyster den, a La Louisiane is the perfect representation for the spirit of the Crescent City. However, Elliott’s appreciation for the drink came after he’d fine-tuned his palate with high-proof spirits like mezcals and grappas.
“I got my start in being interested in liquor culture more through tasting,” says Elliott. “The bar that I was helping run prior to Maison Premiere was very much a spirits tasting bar. I was all about tasting high-proof spirits in small amounts and being comfortable with that.”
When he was asked to help open a bar in the vein of Old New Orleans, his experience with the La Louisiane came mostly from hearing others talk about it, but the bar decided to put it on the opening menu since it was contextually appropriate. The drink, a blend of Peychaud’s Bitters, Benedictine, vermouth, rye whiskey, and absinthe, has been a cornerstone ever since.
“It has all the representative things of New Orleans to me…it intrigued me,” says Elliott. “I train a lot of new bartenders, and if they’re not bartender choicing that, they’re not really representing us.”
4 dashes of Absinthe Verte
4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
1/2 ounce Benedictine
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica vermouth
1 3/4 ounce Rittenhouse rye whiskey
Pour ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake several times. Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
When in a nostalgic mood for his home state, Elliott opts for another whiskey-and-absinthe combination, Remember the Maine. He’s been kind enough to pass that recipe on as well.
Remember the Maine
2 teaspoons of cherry heering
1 teaspoon of absinthe
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
2 ounces rye whiskey
Combine ingredients in a glass, fill with ice, and stir vigorously. Strain into a chilled glass.