Dads are the original drinkers. For every Pegu Club cocktail I’ve sipped, my father can probably put back two vodka martinis, a drink that is an almost perfect vehicle for a clean, simple buzz.
Still, the urge to share newfangled things with our parents can be strong. On Father’s Day, a well-mixed, so-called craft cocktail (usually just a riff on a really old cocktail) can offer an ideal vehicle to bond, serve and maybe even impress.
To keep generalizing, fathers are not always about novelty or change. Their natural environment is less speakeasy and more a place such as Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi in Smithtown, whose drinks menu offers clues to male tastes. While red wine and martinis are poured en force here, bartender Michael Knoerzer insists that men are branching out — such as with a turquoise cocktail called a Deal Sealer, a refreshing drink of gin, honey, Blue Curaçao, pineapple and lime.
However, their Sazerac is where it’s at. The cocktail has its roots in 1850s New Orleans, and is still the city’s official drink and served in great volume. Insignia’s version pairs Pendleton 1910 rye whiskey, simple syrup, and Peychaud’s bitters over ice in an absinthe-rinsed glass.
Spicy and almost restorative, it’s truly made for Father’s Day bonding: a back story, a brown spirit and the power to convince Dad you may possess style after all.
1 teaspoon absinthe (Pernod or Herbsaint will do)
Sugar cube or 1⁄2 teaspoon superfine sugar
2 ounces rye
A dash of bitters, preferably Peychaud’s
Pour absinthe into a chilled rocks glass, swirl and discard. Rub cut side of a lemon peel around the edge of the glass and put aside. Add sugar and rye to glass and muddle or crush with a bar spoon. Add ice (if desired) and bitters, and stir thoroughly. Garnish with lemon peel and serve.