2010 Best Bars

Classic Drinks to Try Before You Die

According to Portland Monthly’s 2008 Bartender of the Year, Daniel Shoemaker from Teardrop Lounge

November 17, 2010 Published in the December 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Nomad

Daiquiri Shoemaker isn’t talking about the umbrella-studded Cancún variety here. The original recipe (circa 1896) called for only rum, lime juice, and sugar, shaken with crushed ice. Since the blender pirouetted in on cocktail creation, though, so many purées and flavors have been added to the daiquiri that the traditional drink has been almost forgotten. It’s worth remembering.

Sazerac Credited as the first cocktail, the sazerac combines cognac or bourbon and bitters. Today it is usually served in an old-fashioned glass, but it was originally served in an egg cup called a coquetier, which some linguists argue provided the origins of the word “cocktail.”

Gin martini Good vermouth is key to this classic, which hits its sweet spot with a gin-to-vermouth ratio of 4:1, according to Shoemaker. Never mind what 007 says; a traditional martini is usually stirred and served with an olive (or two, or three).

Singapore Sling This sweet, frothy cocktail gets its name from where it was first imagined—at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. In 1915 a British commander (si ling in the Hainanese dialect) asked the bartender Ngiam Tong Boon to create a tropical drink befitting a beautiful lady. The solution: a powerful mix of gin, cherry brandy, Bénédictine, and fresh pineapple juice. (The bottled variety won’t create the signature foamy head.)

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