I’ve mentioned before how during the winter months I have a tendency to become a homebody. However, I really enjoy entertaining and seeing friends, so cocktail parties are the common weekend occurrence in our home between January and March. I also have a very lovely husband who reads the website and took to heart my holiday gift guide and come Christmas morning I was delighted to find the Experimental Cocktail Club book under our tree.
Now, I have gone to the Lower Eastside NYC location of ECC many times since moving to the city and have always encountered super knowledgable bar tenders and equally delicious drinks. So when I had first heard that they would be releasing a book of recipes it had long been on the top of my list of things to get myself. I was not disappointed! It is a fantastic read, talking about the history of ECC and what the owners had to go through in starting their businesses. It also has a wonderful selection of recipes from each of the bars as well as a mix of classic cocktails. Today I am sharing with you three recipes from the book.
Hope you enjoy!
4 cucumber slices
3-6 mint leaves
50ml (2fl oz) gin *I used Hendricks Gin for this recipe but it is not specified in the book.
25ml (1fl oz) fresh lime juice * A great tip for using fresh juices is to prepare a couple hours ahead of time and put into a squeeze bottle. That way when you are entertaining your guests you won’t be spending all of your time making cocktails.
20ml (3/4fl oz) simple syrup *This is super easy to make it is equal parts sugar and water. An example could be a cup of each but you can do more or less depending on how much you need. Dissolve the sugar into the water and bring it to a boil and then remove off of the heat, allow to cool and then bottle and refrigerate.
Place the cucumber and mint in a cocktail shaker and muddle, then add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled coupette glass. Garnish with a fresh slice of cucumber.
Thought to be a mostly a summer time staple the East Side is a relative of the South Side, not a surprise, which most people agree it’s origin story started while being served on and off the courts of many of the American North East country clubs back in the 1940s. This is a very refreshing drink not too sweet with just the right amount of tartness from the lime. The cucumber is the star of the show. It’s mellow flavors blend perfectly with the floral notes of the mint and punchy flavors of the lime. While a perfect drink in the summer I find it just as refreshing year round.
20ml (3/4fl oz) fresh lime juice, plus extra for the salt rim
50ml (2fl oz) tequila
20ml (3/4fl oz) fresh pink grapefruit juice * Again please reference the early comment on prepping fresh juices it really saves you time and you can keep stored in the fridge for several days.
20ml (3/4fl oz) agave water * This is very easy to make. Take 2 parts agave syrup and 1 part water. Place 2 volumes, for example 2 tablespoons, of agave syrup and 1 volume (1 tablespoon) of water in a small bowl or jug and stir until syrup dissolves.
soda water, to top off * We used boylen’s club soda for this particular drink.
Dip the rim of a highball glass in lime juice to wet it, then in a saucer of salt to frost the rim. Place the lime juice and all the remaining ingredients, except the soda water, in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice cubes and shake well. Strain into the highball glass over a fresh ice and top off with soda water.
This drink will leave it’s fellow tequila cocktails in the dirt. With a richer flavor than it’s counterpart the margarita, the Paloma is one of the most popular drinks in Mexico. Originally thought to have origins in Jamaica it is traditionally mixed with a grapefruit soda but we have followed Experimental Cocktail Clubs iteration and have used a club soda and fresh grapefruit juice to dazzling effect. You should definitely try this drink on your next taco night.
60ml (2 1/4fl oz) Laphroaig whisky (Scotch)
5ml (1 tsp) salted maple syrup * stir 1 tsp course sea salt into 120ml (4fl oz) maple syrup. Also make sure you use a quality syrup. The first time I made this cocktail I used basic pancake syrup and it was nowhere near as good.
3 dashes of apple bitters
Place all the ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice cubes and stir with a bar spoon. Strain into a rocks glass with one large cube of ice and garnish with a twist of pared lemon rind. * We actually garnished with a slice of fresh apple as an alternate idea.
I will be honest about this drink. The first time I made it, it came out awful. My husband has a love for good scotch and whiskeys and adores all things sweet and rich. So when I discovered this recipe in the ECC book I knew this was a recipe for him. The key to this drink really is about the ingredients. On my first go around with this cocktail I had used an apple syrup not bitters and a basic pancake syrup, not a quality maple syrup. I couldn’t stand the drink it came across as cloyingly sweet and the flavor profiles had no balance at all. I was determined to scrap the recipe for this article, but my husband was the one to challenge me to give this one more go. Armed with the proper ingredients suggested by the book, I prepared for round 2 to much better effect. What was produced was a rich flavorful cocktail with the feel of an old fashion but with a smoother dessert like quality. This drink is definitely decadent and is not one to be consumed by a casual drinker. But I definitely suggest giving this one a try especially for those of you that love a good smoky scotch or whiskey.
I hope you all enjoyed this post. As always I would love to know if you have any ideas you want covered on the website or if you try any of the cocktails let me know what you think. And seriously go check out Experimental Cocktail Club’s book. There are so many other really awesome recipes that we didn’t feature. Also if you ever find yourself in New York, London, Paris, or Ibiza go check out the actual bars.
The Everyday Editor
All photos by Jessie Ajluni