“People like a good story,” says Dillon Garcia, bar manager/mixologist at The Pizzeria at Terry’s Finer Foods. He’s right, I’d only add that people generally like a good story coupled with an even better drink.
This is something Garcia knows all too well as he recently started a ten-week cocktail series called ‘The Forget Me Nots,’ during which a drink will be released as the featured vintage cocktail of the week.
He first got the idea of running a series when his grandmother gave him a book focused on the history of spirits and cocktails. “I’ve been reading through it and I’ve actually learned quite a bit about the cocktail,” he says.
Don’t worry, if you miss out on a drink that you particularly want to try, Garcia says he will make past featured cocktails for those who ask. You can’t, however, order future drinks.
Garcia says, “A lot of bartenders, especially in this new age of mixology that we’re all a part of, all want to make the next big thing. … [Y]ou don’t want to copy anything.” And even though he’s stepped outside his comfort zone by making cocktails he didn’t create, he’s enjoying the process, especially, as he says, “All of these drinks have a story.”
Start with The Ford, for instance. While you’re likely thinking of Model T’s, this drink was originally named for an athlete, and came out in the 1880s. Complete with Old Tom Gin, Lillet Blanc, Orange Bitters, and Benedictine, this drink was the first featured within the series. Garcia says, “For a gin based drink, if you don’t like gin, you’ll need to try this one. It’s really good.”
If you’re already a gin lover, get geared up for The Blue Moon. Gin, Crème De Violet and Lemon Juice make up the bluish-purplish concoction. Garcia says, “The original recipe didn’t specify which type of gin, so I went with a more botanical one – Bombay Sapphire. … That’s one of my tweaks on the recipe, where I get to get creative with it.”
Don’t let the delicate color fool you, though. This drink, while balanced with floral notes, is not meant to be downed too quickly.
For those who aren’t a fan of scotch, necessarily, check out The Blood and Sand. Named for a 1922 Rudolph Valentino film, “Blood and Sand,” this drink is literally the color of sand with a blood-red cherry at the bottom. With Scotch, Orange Juice, Cherry Heering, and Sweet Vermouth, it’s probably the sweetest of the bunch in this list. When drinking it, it’s hard to pick out the base liquor – scotch – yet the orange juice and cherry make it citrusy sweet.
To end today’s preview, you can’t go wrong with The Twelve Mile Limit. During prohibition the drink was served on cruise ships as soon as the boat had passed into international waters – twelve miles out. With White Rum, Rye Whiskey, Grenadine, and Lemon Juice it looks like a tropical, alcoholic pink lemonade. It’s not, trust me. It’s most definitely delicious, in a celebratory-drinking-through-prohibition type of way.
If your interest is piqued – as it should be – head to the Pizzeria to get a drink or two. Garcia has a new drink debuting today – The Income Tax – which includes Gin, Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, and Angostura Bitters. You’ll have to ask him about the story on this 1940s era beaut.