By mixing two of the same spirit in classic cocktails, bartenders are realizing one plus one equals way more than two.
The most important part of a classic cocktail tends to be the base spirit. That’s why, when ordering, you often specify the brand—a Rittenhouse Manhattan or a Beefeater martini. But where one is good, two can be even better, and bartenders across the country are finding that by splitting the base in booze-forward drinks—that is, using two complementary brands of, say, bourbon or vodka—the drinks achieve a new level of sophistication and subtlety. At the Grill, in New York City, bar director Thomas Waugh combines the assertive Tanqueray gin with the softer Plymouth to create a complex, delicious martini. “You get the best of all worlds,” says Waugh, who also employs two vermouths in his variation. “You get a lot of complexity out of putting four ingredients in a martini.”
It also works with similar spirits, like a split base of mezcal and tequila in the freewheeling margarita made at The Pastry War, in Houston. You can even mix your favorite rye and bourbon in an old-fashioned. Try it and you’ll soon realize that, yes, you can have it both ways.
Scroll down for three great same-spirit cocktail recipes.