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Atlanta's best bartenders speak up

A roundtable discussion about the city's cocktail renaissance, plus their cocktail recipes



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"A Famous Man"

- Navarro Carr, the Sound Table
This cocktail plays off the rich sweetness of a good aged rum with the earthy, bitter, herbal depth of a trio of Italian masterpieces.

• 2 ounces aged rum (such as Zaya 12 year old, Flor de Caña Grand Reserve, or Angostura 7 year old)
• 1/2 ounce Fernet-Branca
• 1/2 ounce Amaro Nonino
• 1/8 ounce Luxardo Maraschino

Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir. Strain into a coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.

"Fields of Gold"

- Lara Creasy, No. 246
A decidedly autumnal play on the classic Bee's Knees, with a floral twist from chamomile tea and dry vermouth.

• 2 ounces No. 209 gin
• 1/2 ounce honey syrup (half honey, half water)
• 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice, strained
• 1/2 ounce chamomile-infused dry vermouth (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of fennel pollen on surface.

Chamomile-infused vermouth: Infuse one chamomile tea bag into 375 milliliter of dry vermouth overnight. Remove tea bag and squeeze to remove excess infusion from bag before discarding. Keep refrigerated.

"The Southpaw"

- Paul Calvert, Pura Vida
Madeira doesn't make its way into many cocktails, but provides a subtle sweetness and balanced acidity to complement the rye.

• 1 1/2 ounces Rittenhouse Rye
• 3/4 ounce Cynar
• 3/4 ounce Sercial Madeira (such as the Rare Wine Co.'s Historic Series Madeira)
• 1/2 ounce Cherry Heering

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir. Strain into a chilled rocks glass over a single large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon twist.

"Rolling Blackout"

- Lindy Colburn, Quality Wine & Spirits
This came about during the rye shortage last year (which is what happens when demand for an aged spirit shoots up). The Barolo Chinato adds impressive depth.

• 1 1/4 ounce Redemption High-Rye Bourbon
• 1/4 ounce Paolucci CioCiaro
• 1 ounce Cocchi Barolo Chinato
• 4 drops orange flower water

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice. Stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

"The Edgewood"

- Greg Best, Holeman & Finch Public House
A "dry and elegant" drink that gains an acidic, citrusy edge from fresh grapefruit juice.

• 1 ounce white grapefruit juice
• 1 ounce dry gin
• 1/2 ounce Portal Moscatel
• 1/2 ounce Cynar

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake, and double strain. Serve up. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt.

"Old Timer"

- Miles Macquarrie, Leon's Full Service
Sassafras sounds so nice, and used to be commonly seen around the South. This is a play on the Old Fashioned, with the sassafras providing an herbal base note.

• 2 ounces Buffalo Trace bourbon
• 3/8 ounce honey syrup (recipe below)
• 3/4 ounce sassafras tea (recipe below)
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over a large cube of ice. Garnish with a large swath of orange peel.

Honey syrup: Dissolve 3 parts honey in 1 part hot water. Leon's uses Georgia wildflower honey.

Sassafras tea: Bring 1 cup of sassafras root bark and 4 cups water to a boil. Simmer for five minutes. Cut heat, cover, and let steep for an additional five minutes. Strain through a few layers of cheese cloth (or through a coffee filter).

More: Our picks for Atlanta's best cocktail bars

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