Like a soap opera character slowly recovering from amnesia, we’re slowly but surely remembering the drinks of our past. In the past 15 years, old-school American cocktail classics like the Southside and the Bee’s Knees have started cropping up on menus across the country. Seamstress, the recently opened Americana-themed bar in Manhattan, is helping speed up the country’s cocktail recall with a menu of 50 classic American cocktails. Here, head bartender Pamela Wiznitzer highlights seven forgotten American cocktails that deserve to be remembered.
1. Jack Rose
Made with fresh lemon juice, applejack and grenadine, this early 1900s drink is super-simple and ultra-American. “Applejack is sort of like our answer to Calvados,” Witznitzer says. “The Jack Rose is just a really great shaken, refreshing cocktail that no one ever orders, which is really a shame.” She likes to make hers with Laird’s or Black Dirt, a craft applejack made in New York state. Pro tip: Shake the cocktail hard. “You have to really throw yourself into it,” Wiznitzer says.
While the creamy, pale green, pre-Prohibition cocktail is experiencing a bit of a resurgence at cocktail bars right now, Witznitzer still thinks this drink needs more love. “It’s a complete guilty pleasure,” she says. “You can just suck them down.” If the low proof puts you off (it’s made with just crème de cacao, crème de menthe and heavy cream), Witznitzer recommends fortifying it with an ounce of Irish whiskey or tequila. You can also swap out the cream for almond milk or coconut milk. Pro tip: Witznitzer warns against using more than a 1/2 ounce of crème de menthe.