During Prohibition, gin was the most commonly consumed and distilled spirit. The term bathtub gin was used to describe foul swill that was left in a tub filled with juniper berries and herbs in hopes of it becoming more palatable. Bartenders at speakeasies couldn't serve the spirit on its own, so they created a host of cocktail recipes. The bartenders at Bathtub Gin, a speakeasy cocktail lounge in Manhattan's hip Chelsea neighborhood, pride themselves on faithfully re-creating these classic drinks, while adding minor modern touches, such as flavored bitters and various infusions.
Ivan Mitankin, one of the bar's more experienced shakers, recommends the Heads or Tails for drinkers trying to get back to cocktail culture's outlaw roots. For this cocktail, Mitankin blends an amaro called Zucca Rabarbo that's "made from rhubarb and various herbs and spices" with 10-year-old Speyburn single-malt scotch. He then seasons the mixture with freshly squeezed lemon juice and Angostura bitters. "The drink has a rich, malty, citrus-driven bitter finish," he says, adding that it pairs well with cured meats and cheeses as well as stews and game dishes. Think of it as the perfect winter post-dinner drink.
Heads or Tails
- 2 oz Speyburn 10
- 3/4 oz Zucca rhubarb amaro
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 oz cane syrup
Pour all ingredients in shaker; add ice and shake vigorously. Fine-strain into a prechilled coupe glass. Finish with oils extracted from an orange twist, and garnish with a twist placed inside the glass.