Once upon a time, there were two brothers. We’ll call them Ted and Charles. They loved cocktails very much, and as such they wrote about them and threw legendary cocktail parties in Seattle. As a natural outgrowth of their passion, they began to meet other people who wrote about cocktails and thought, with a big event coming up, wouldn’t it be fun to put out a book of recipes by writers and bartenders only from the west coast? Lots of other people thought that it was a great idea, and so the Munat Brothers collected recipes put out a small, spiral bound volume called Left Coast Libations.
It was such a good idea, in fact, that a publisher thought it would make a great book—the kind with glossy photos that you find on the shelf at Borders. The brother called Ted decided to take on the re-imagining of the wee LCL and refined the concept: a book of recipes by the best bartenders from cities up and down the west coast. Naturally, this meant that all the sad, misshapen gnomes who live in caves and write cocktail blogs could not submit recipes for the professional book, and so were relegated to working as spies for Ted, ferreting out the brightest talents to be featured.
One such gnome from Los Angeles (coughcough) suggested John Coltharp, bartender extraordinaire at Seven Grand and Caña downtown and now Copa d’Oro in Santa Monica. John is a very talented and supremely knowledgeable bartender; he consistently creates drinks that showcase but don’t overwhelm their base spirits. He has long been one of my favorite hooch-slingers in town and I was excited to try the drinks he submitted to the new Left Coast Libations, including this loverly fall cocktail.
1 oz rye whiskey (Sazerac 6-year)
1 oz Laird’s bonded applejack
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz grenadine
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Fresh grate some cinnamon over the top and serve.
Though a bit on the stiff side, there really is no marriage quite as happy as that between applejack and American whiskey. The deep earthy, spicy notes of both spirits combine to make something like the richest, most savory apple cider—in this case, cinched by the final whisper of cinnamon on top. Real pomegranate grenadine is absolutely necessary here, as the store-bought kind is too sweet and lacks the natural tangy flavor of homemade. It’s also worth the extra time to seek out Laird’s bonded applejack—it has a higher proof, but the apple flavor is pronounced and infinitely more delicious in cocktails. As an extra bonus, the Seven Sings can be batched ahead of time and shaken to order—and the proportions would easily increase to make a delicious punch.