Today marks our third installment of Cocktail Corner — which means it’s time to dive back in to the world of classic cocktails with the help of Tender Bar + Kitchen‘s bad-ass libation index, the Banker’s List.
For those of you who are late to the proceedings, Tender’s Banker’s List is a small roster of 28 vintage and contemporary classics that you ought to experience. The drinks fall under three groupings: shaken, stirred, and Tiki. They’re delicious, pretty reasonably priced as far as craft cocktails go, and every drink brings with it a storied history.
In this post, we’ll cover two more must-have cocktails off the list: the Martinez and the Bee’s Knees. These are two strong but well balanced gin drinks that any booze enthusiast ought to keep in their back pocket. (I mean the back pocket of your mind — I’m not saying always carry a flask of either on your person.*)
This cocktail is of a somewhat disputed origin. It might be named for the place in which it was created; it might be bastardized from the Manhattan. What is known, though, is that (1) it is the forefather of the martini, and (2) it’s freaking delicious. Also, let’s add to our fact list something else I know: (3) the one true way to make a Martinez is the way that Tender makes it: with Old Tom Gin, sweet vermouth, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and a dash of Boker’s bitters, plus lemon peel garnish.
This splendid beverage offers a really nice progression of flavors and feels. You kick off with that soothing sensation as the gin hits your palate, followed by the sweetness of the vermouth and maraschino, capped with a touch of bitterness on the finish. Fox prefers this to a martini, and honestly, so do I.
What to say about this lovely Prohibition-era cocktail? It’s simple to make, consisting of gin, honey, lemon, and Angostura bitters. And while it’s sweet as a kiss, a few of these will knock you on your ass.
Look at this sweet little lady. Curvy, amber, with the slightest froth. It’s got really nice acidity, and it’s tart on the tongue. But the thing is, it doesn’t taste a bit like liquor, which is a hell of a disappearing act, considering that a Bee’s Knees contains two honkin’ ounces of gin. Those 1920s speaks knew how to get a fellow snookered (without leaving a boozy haze on your breath for the Prohees to notice).
Final verdict: these cocktails are indispensable to your repertoire. Make a pitcher of either at your next party, and you’ll impress the hell out of your friends, without having to remember a long list of ingredients!
* Author’s note: the lawyers made me add that disclaimer — now that it’s just us in the room, go ahead and always carry a flask if that’s your bag. Or a bottle in a bag, if that’s more literally your bag.