5@5 - Mixologist Dale DeGroff
October 13th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

It’s not easy being king – that is, unless you’re King of the Cocktail. Master mixologist Dale DeGroff is just that, earning the nickname “King Cocktail” because of such intoxicating intelligence.

DeGroff is the author of "The Essential Cocktail," winner of the 2009 Spirit Awards, and "The Craft of the Cocktail," winner of the 2002 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award.

He was also given the James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional” in 2009, and the Tales of the Cocktail “Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2008 – among umpteen others.

Now, "the King" has found himself in the 5@5 hot seat to offer up some punchy, potent, Prohibition potations that are having a resurgence - no speakeasy required.

Top Five Prohibition Cocktails Making a Comeback - Where to Get Them and How to Make Them: Dale DeGroff

1. El Presidente – Employees Only (New York City, New York)
"Dushan Zaric and his partners came up in the Keith McNally restaurant group as bartenders. Keith has the midas touch in NYC - he is the man behind Balthazar, Pravda, Lucky Strike, Pastis, Odeon, Schillers Liquor Bar. The El Presidente at Employees Only is made with Flor de Caña extra-dry rum stirred with Dolin dry vermouth, orange curaçao and homemade grenadine - served straight up."

1 1/2 ounces white rum
3/4 ounce orange curacao
3/4 ounce French dry vermouth
Dash of grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into small cocktail glass.

2. Bee's Knees – Bonefish Grill (nationwide)
"Bonefish Grill is dedicated to bringing big city drinks to neighborhoods around the United States and is the first restaurant to do truly special mixology across the board. Led by Director of Bar Innovation, Leigh Merritt, Bonefish Grill uses fresh juices behind the bar inspired by my books and makes a great Bee’s Knees martini. This modern take on the classic Prohibition-era throwback features gin, apple juice, a whole basil leaf, honey and lemon."

2 ounces gin (Beefeater or Plymouth Gin work great for this cocktail)
2 ounces apple juice
1 lemon wedge
2 basil leaves + 1 for garnish
1/2 ounce pure honey

Drop lemon wedge, basil leaves and honey into a 16-oz pint glass. Muddle well so that lemon juice is extracted well from the wedges and basil oils have been released. Add gin, apple juice and ice. Shake and strain into martini glass. Put basil leaf on top as garnish.

3. Sidecar – Pegu Club (New York City, New York)
"Pegu Club is arguably the best cocktail bar in Manhattan, with extraordinary cocktails operated by Audrey Saunders and her partners. It has become the destination in NYC for the classic and cutting-edge culinary cocktail. Audrey makes her classic Sidecar using Courvoisier VS Cognac, calvados, Cointreau, lemon juice, simple syrup, pineapple juice and Green Chartreuse."

1 1/2 ounces VSOP Cognac
1 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and strain into a small cocktail glass with a lightly sugared rim, Garnish with small a flamed orange zest.

4. French 75 – Clover Club (Brooklyn, New York)
"Julie Reiner is Audrey's partner in Pegu Club, as well as the owner of Flatiron Lounge, and is recognized as one of the pioneering cocktail lounges of the worldwide cocktail renaissance. Julie recently opened Clover Club on Smith Street in Brooklyn - the epicenter of the Brooklyn restaurant/bar revival. The Clover Club French 75 is made with gin, lemon, sugar and champagne."

1 ounce (30 ml) Plymouth Gin
3/4 ounce (25 ml) simple syrup
1/2 ounce (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
3 ounces Champagne

Shake the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup well with ice and strain into an ice filled wine glass and top with Champagne. Garnish with lemon peel.

5. Last Word (Aviation) – Drawing Room (Chicago, Illinois)
"Charles Joly is the head bartender at this Chicago boîte. He is one of the top mixologists in the country. The Last Word cocktail at the Drawing Room is a take off of an Aviation cocktail - made with Plymouth gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxaroo Maraschino and lime."

2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Note: Some add 1/4 ounce of Crème Villette to add a floral note and a hint of blue color.

What is your preferred Prohibition-era cocktail? Do you make it at home, or order it up at your favorite bar? Shake things up in the comments.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. SBFestCookbook

    Dale has a drink recipe in #sobecookbook! Enter the amazing contest here: http://tinyurl.com/sbbook @kingcocktl

    October 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
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