They always make fun of me at Holeman & Finch because they say I drink like a man. Aside from the fact that I primarily stick to gin, scotch, and bourbon, they know I do not like to imbibe things that are sweet or brightly colored, come in a silly glass, or have arbitrary bullshit in them like fruit or tiny umbrellas. The first time I met Jason Rager, I sat down at the bar, assumed he knew what he was doing, shrugged and said "I like gin." "Me too" he replied. In the immortal words of Humprey Bogart, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Going on that Casablanca-centric thought, of all the gin joints in all the cities in all the world, I'm glad I walked into Holeman. Since that day, I've spent many an evening reveling with the James Beard-nominated bar team and any friend I can bring along for the ride.
For the next few weeks, Jason will be contributing his thoughts and recipes with cocktails he's created just for The Love List. We thought it would be cool if central to all his concoctions was a spirit or cordial made in the South, so it's only appropriate we kick things off with an American Spirit Whiskey drink called the Dixie Pomander. ASW is a labor of love from Charlie and Jim, who reside here in Atlanta and have effectively gotten me and many of my friends oh so very drunk partying with the likes of Billy Reid and Ledbury.
On the cocktail's name, Jason says "My mom is from Charleston, and whenever we would go visit my Grandmama, we would make pomanders - those oranges stuffed with cloves you see sometimes during the holidays. This cocktail has the exact same nose as one of those."
1.5oz American Spirit Whiskey
.75oz Amaro Montenegro
.75oz Imbue Bittersweet
1 barspoon Becherovka
2 dashes Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Served up, in a coupe glass with a lemon twist
...and about that glass: don't call it a comeback. Town & Country has some thoughts on the champagne coupe, a favorite of mine, on page 39 of the April issue.