Fitting as it may be, I did not name this cocktail.
Lantern’s Keep did. Lantern’s Keep being a swankadoodle cocktail spot inside NYC’s Iroquois Hotel on West 44th Street. I’ve never visited there, but I’m already kinda in love with the place just based on its website, where it describes itself as “a salon devoted to the art and enjoyment of great cocktails. This secretive salon [seems to be a speakeasy-style place located off the hotel lobby, hence the need for the lantern] is already luring cocktail aficionados in and transporting them back to a turn-of-the-century Parisian salon.” Which immediately makes me think: Midnight in Paris! C’est l’age d’or, Marion Cotillard! I want in!
Now what I liked about this cocktail right off the bat — before I even tasted or tried making it, when I’d only read about it in Life & Style Magazine (um, which I was reading… on a plane? While getting a mani-pedi? Let’s go with that one) — was its simplicity. The more I experiment with cocktails, the more I appreciate those that get to the point, that express an intention and just get over themselves and get on with it already in as few ingredients as possible.
The L&S write-up didn’t mention how much Angostura to use, so I started with one dash. I mixed that up, and in one sip I went to my happy place; immediately, visual pictures of me cozied up in alluringly dim cocktail boites came to mind. The PhoBlograpHusband tried it and felt it had a too-sweet-bordering-on-cloying finish, so I made another with two dashes of bitters. The result was simultaneously a) weirdly muted, b) all tartness with no anchoring bottom note, c) completely devoid of any sort of finish at all.
It’s amazing how much a quarter-ounce of syrup, or a single dash of bitters, really matters in a cocktail.
(based on Lantern’s Keep’s recipe as printed in Life & Style)
2 ounces Buffalo Trace
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
Mint sprig, to garnish
Combine liquid ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Give your mint sprig a smack and then arrange it atop the drink to garnish.
Let me explain, if necessary,what I just wrote about the mint sprig slap. This is something commonly done at your better cocktail lounges and I’ve been remiss not mentioning it here. The mint’s not just something pretty to look at or a pop of contrasting color; it really does make a difference in your overall enjoyment of The Expat if you get that whiff of mint up the shnozz right as you’re taking a sip. By smacking the mint, you get an extra release of those minterrific notes. You’re literally smacking the mint outta that mint. So hold your sprig by the stem with one hand and give it a thwap! against the open palm of your other hand.