The whole reason for writing On the Bar is to introduce people to good drinks.
But for this column to have any practical value, they have to be drinks people can actually make at home. So, while I sometimes include ingredients you can only pick up while you’re in Seattle or Portland, I try to avoid anything genuinely hard to find or esoteric. And I hardly ever include things like shrubs or syrups you need to make in advance. My favorite drinks to write about are those for which you can find every ingredient right here in li’l ol’ Yakima. That way I can imagine someone reading the column and actually following the recipe that very night.
“By Jove! This drink is outstanding! On the Bar was right again! Huzzah for Yakima! Huzzah for print media!”
Or some such.
That’s why I was so excited recently to stumble upon an article from a 2013 issue of the drinks magazine Imbibe in which top bartenders were asked to create original four-ingredient drinks using only readily available ingredients. All of the drinks are great. There’s Matthew Lipsky’s the Patricia Anne, a honeyed and bittered gin sour; Erick Castro’s low-ABV dry-vermouth-based Django Reinhardt, which uses fresh orange and lemon to great effect; and Daniel Shoemaker’s The Graduate, a madman’s proposition that uses tonic to enliven a mix of red vermouth, curacao and scotch.
The best part is that any of you could make any of them this very evening. They’re simple, and none of them includes anything you can’t find in a Yakima supermarket in 2019. If you’re a Campari nut like I am, the one you should make first is the High Noon, invented by Naren Young of legendary New York bar Dante. Just looking at the recipe, you know it works: Tequila goes well with triple sec, triple sec goes well with Campari, Campari goes well with grapefruit, grapefruit goes well with tequila. It’s a perfect circle of compatibility.
And it’s perfectly simple. A lot of drinks, even great ones, include little accents — a dash of this or a teaspoon of that — in addition to their main ingredients as a way of smoothing out the rough edges, the places where things aren’t quite balanced. But the High Noon doesn’t need anything else, because it doesn’t have rough edges to begin with.
I’m happy to introduce you to it.
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce Campari
1 ounce pink grapefruit juice
Grapefruit peel garnish
Add all ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake 10-20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Twist grapefruit peel over surface of drink to express oils.