Cocktails from the Open Bar

Emma Komlos-Hrobsky

Our vision of your New Year’s Eve entails stolen taxidermy, prank phone calls, and copious quantities of glitter. Might we suggest some libations from the Open Bar to facilitate these proceedings?

The Tin House Martini was developed for Tin House magazine by Mr. Greg Connolly, bartender at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, who has also been known to call it “The Best Martini in the World.” Order the Tin House Martini at the Four Seasons bar, or use this recipe to educate your favorite bartender about this inspired improvement on the standard gin martini.

The Tin House Martini
Cinzano dry vermouth

1. Pour 1/2 oz of Pernod into a cocktail shaker.
2. Swirl until it coats the inside of the shaker. Pour off any excess.
3. Splash two eye-dropperfuls of Cinzano dry vermouth into the bottom of the shaker, and again swirl it about, then pour off the excess.
4. Pour 4 to 4 1/2 oz of Tanqueray gin into the shaker, add ice, and with a long-handled silver mixing spoon, stir exactly twenty times.
5. Pour the drink into a very well-chilled martini glass.
6. Add three small cocktail olives, or two large ones, sans toothpick. The flavors of olive and Pernod commingle so deliciously, that at least one of the olives should be consumed after the drink is finished.

The following recipe comes from Sara Roahen, who wrote in Tin House about the devotion of her family and people of Wisconsin to the brandy old-fashioned. Her notes on proper mixology and Uncle Larry’s recipe:

Most brandy old-fashioned makers I know are partial to a particular brand (Uncle Larry likes Christian Brothers), but any inexpensive brandy will do. It’s essential to make ice in the largest cubes possible; the balance of bitters, brandy, and sweetness is easily diluted, and the kind of nubby ice sold by the bag melts too quickly. Lastly, most store-bought bar syrups are either saccharine-sweet or have a plasticky flavor. After years of empiricial research Uncle Larry found one to fit his taste, Sweet 10, but you can also make your own simple syrup by heating equal parts water and sugar on the stove-top and stirring just until the sugar dissolves. For easy access, store the syrup in a squirt bottle or other covered vessel with a pour spout.

Uncle Larry’s Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet
liberal 2 jiggers (3 oz) brandy
4 or 5 strong dashes Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon simple syrup
1/2 of one 2-inch cinnamon stick (split it up lengthwise)
6 oz (half a can) cold 7Up
maraschino cherries to taste

1. Fill a 12-oz tumbler to the top with ice cubes and pour in brandy.
2. Add bitters and simple syrup; stir with cinnamon stick, leaving stick in the glass.
3. Top off the drink with 7Up and stir again with a long-handled bar spoon.
4. Garnish with maraschino cherries, either floating or skewered on a toothpick.