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 Caipirinha

John Parra, Fox Liquor Bar, Raleigh

1 small lime, cut into 8 wedges
1 pinch kosher salt
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
½ ounce honey syrup
2 ounces Troy & Sons Platinum Moonshine
Blenheim Old #3 Hot – Red Cap Ginger Ale
1 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 Palmer

This 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 Trading

Mattie Beason, Black Twig Cider House, Durham

1 ½ ounces Fair Game Apple Brandy
1 ½ ounces Appalachian Mountain Brewery Cinful Plum Cider
¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
¾ ounce Eden Heirloom Blend Ice Cider

Stir ingredients together over ice, then strain into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with an apple peel.


Doc’s Blueberry Thyme Lemonade

Brian Lorusso, Dogwood Southern Table & Bar, Charlotte

2 ounces blueberry-infused Doc Porter’s vodka
3 ounces thyme lemonade
2 dashes lemon bitters

Blueberry-infused vodka

Freeze 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 Lemonade

Simmer 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 Rim

Grind 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 Julep

Will Locke, Highland Avenue, Hickory

2 orange slices
5 mint leaves
½ ounce honey syrup
1 ½ ounces Seventeen Twelve Bourbon
American Honor Hop On n’ Ride IPA
1 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 Hour

Niels Larsen, Print Works Bistro, Greensboro

2 ounces Sutler’s Gin
¾ ounce Bittermilk Charred Grapefruit Tonic Syrup
½ ounce Shelton Vineyards Yadkin Valley Port
2 dashes Crude “Sycophant” Orange & Fig Bitters
1 sprig rosemary

Combine all ingredients except rosemary in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig.


Walk Right In

Sarah Vickery, The Lantern, Chapel Hill

8-12 blueberries
2 sugar cubes
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 ounces bourbon

In 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.


Star Flower

Jimmy Ingenito, Starlight Cafe, Greenville

8 cilantro leaves, plus 1 cilantro sprig for garnish
2 slices seedless cucumber
2 ounces Mother Earth gin
¾ ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
¾ ounce Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic seltzer water

Twist 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.