Behind the bar

Make your New Year really pop with a North Carolina cocktail. Each of these fine beverages featuring N.C. spirits are befitting of any celebration.

Appalachian CaipirinhaJohn Parra, Fox Liquor Bar, Raleigh1 small lime, cut into 8 wedges1 pinch kosher salt4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters½ ounce honey syrup*2 ounces Troy & Sons Platinum MoonshineBlenheim Old #3 Hot – Red Cap Ginger Ale1 large slice fresh ginger root*Make honey syrup by heating and stirring 3 parts honey and 1 part water until combined.Muddle lime wedges and salt in a cocktail shaker. Add bitters, honey syrup, and moonshine. Add ice and shake aggressively for 5-7 seconds. Pour in an ice-filled double rocks glass, top with ginger ale, and garnish with a slice of fresh ginger root.Arnold PalmerThis drink is in honor of “The King” himself, and according to Arnold Palmer “the dominant factor must be iced tea with about 1/3 or 1/4 of it in lemonade.” The beverage makes the perfect base for adding a shot of your favorite liquor — just remember if you add alcohol that makes it a John Daly.InCider TradingMattie Beason, 
Black Twig Cider House, Durham1½ ounces Fair Game Apple Brandy1½ ounces Appalachian Mountain Brewery Cinful Plum Cider¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur¾ ounce Eden Heirloom Blend Ice CiderStir ingredients together over ice, then strain into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with an apple peel.I Miss the Way Life Was When You Were My GirlTony Cross, Reverie, Southern PinesApple Cinnamon Shrub1 cup apple cider vinegar2/3 cup maple syrup3 medium organic apples, unpeeled and shredded1 Ceylon cinnamon stick¼ teaspoon cardamom seedsStir vinegar and maple syrup together in a half-gallon Mason jar. Add shredded apples, cinnamon, and cardamom seed. Put lid on jar and shake to blend ingredients.Place the jar in the back of your refrigerator and let it sit for three to five days. Taste on day three. If you’re happy with the flavor, strain and discard debris. Store in a clean jar and keep refrigerated. Flavor will mature over time.Demerara SyrupOver medium heat, stir together two parts demerara sugar and one part water until dissolved, then cool.I Miss the Way Life Was When You Were My Girl1½ ounces Sutler’s Gin¾ ounce lemon juice½ ounce Lustau Amontillado SherryScant ½ ounce apple cinnamon shrub¼ ounce demerara syrup1 dash black walnut bittersCombine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon peel, expressing the oils before dropping into the drink.Doc’s Blueberry Thyme LemonadeBrian Lorusso, Dogwood Southern Table & Bar, Charlotte2 ounces blueberry-infused Doc Porter’s vodka*3 ounces thyme lemonade*2 dashes lemon bitters*Blueberry-infused vodkaFreeze 2 pints of blueberries overnight. Place frozen blueberries in a glass container and pour a 750-mL bottle of Doc Porter’s vodka on top. Infuse for a minimum of 2 weeks.*Thyme LemonadeSimmer the slices of 8-10 lemons, a handful of fresh thyme sprigs, 1 cup sugar, and 3 cups water until sugar has dissolved. Stir, cool, and strain.*Sugar-Salt RimGrind equal amounts sugar and pink Himalayan sea salt with a few sprigs of thyme, then shake through a mesh strainer.Rub a sliced lemon around the rim of a Collins glass, then dip into sugar-salt mixture. Fill with ice. Add vodka, lemonade, and bitters, then stir. Garnish with blueberries on a pick or a lemon twist.Orange Mint Beer JulepWill Locke, Highland Avenue, Hickory2 orange slices5 mint leaves½ ounce honey syrup*1½ ounces Seventeen Twelve BourbonAmerican Honor Hop On n’ Ride IPA1 mint sprig*Make honey syrup by heating and stirring equal parts honey and water until combined.In a beer snifter, muddle orange slice, mint leaves, and honey syrup. Add bourbon, then fill glass with cracked ice. Top with beer. Stir once, then garnish with an orange slice and a mint sprig.Hiram’s HourNiels Larsen, Print Works Bistro, Greensboro2 ounces Sutler’s Gin¾ ounce Bittermilk Charred Grapefruit Tonic Syrup½ ounce Shelton Vineyards Yadkin Valley Port2 dashes Crude “Sycophant” Orange & Fig Bitters1 sprig rosemaryCombine all ingredients except rosemary in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig.Walk Right InSarah Vickery, The Lantern, Chapel Hill8-12 blueberries2 sugar cubes½ ounce fresh lemon juice1 dash Angostura Bitters2 ounces bourbonIn a rocks glass, muddle blueberries, sugar cubes, lemon juice, and bitters. Pour bourbon over bottom of muddler to remove any blueberries, add ice, and stir.The TourmalineDenny Shrock, The Arendell Room, Morehead City3 one-inch pieces fresh watermelon1½ ounces Cruzan gold rum¾ ounce fresh lime juice½ ounce simple syrupTonic waterIn a mixing glass, muddle watermelon, rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Add ice, shake, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with tonic water, and garnish with a thinly sliced watermelon rind.RoanokeZack Thomas, Foundation, Raleigh2 ounces Fair Game Amber Rum1 ounce Earl Grey tea—infused sweet vermouth2 dashes Fee Brothers black walnut bittersStir ingredients together in an ice-filled glass, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange zest.Earl Grey tea—infused sweet vermouth6 bags Earl Grey tea1 750-ml bottle sweet vermouthAllow tea bags to steep in sweet vermouth for no more than six hours, then remove.
Garden GnomeSeth Sullivan, The Cardinal, Boone1½ ounces Sutler’s Gin½ ounce Aperol1½ ounces carrot juice½ ounce lemon juice4 – 5 dashes Angostura bittersGinger beerCombine all ingredients except ginger beer in a shaker. Shake over ice, then strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer and stir once. Garnish with a lemon twist or small carrot.Star FlowerJimmy Ingenito, Starlight Cafe, Greenville8 cilantro leaves, plus 1 cilantro sprig for garnish2 slices seedless cucumber2 ounces Mother Earth gin¾ ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur¾ ounce Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic seltzer waterTwist cilantro leaves and drop in a highball or Collins glass. Top with a cucumber slice. Bruise cucumber slightly with a muddler. Fill glass with ice. Top with gin, St-Germain, tonic, and seltzer, then stir. Garnish with a cucumber slice and a sprig of cilantro.