The Watsonian (Bully Boy Distillers)
Tokyo 75 (Pabu)
A Rope to a Flame (The Westland)
Call it the whiskey equivalent of nose-to-tail: The Watsonian, Bully Boy Distillers’ riff on a Sidecar, is made using the company’s own American Straight Whiskey and smoked over a stave from one of their own barrels.
The cocktail (named after a British manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars) deviates from the classic Sidecar by swapping out Cognac in favor of whiskey, while cherry bitters lend a new flavor element.
“The original specs that we had felt a little one-dimensional,” says back of house bar manager Jesse Buchter. “So the cherry bitters came in to add a little bit of the fruitiness that you might find in a brandy.”
The smoking effect was introduced to bring extra depth to the cocktail. “The orange liqueur that we make in house has some orange blossom water in it, so it’s little lighter and floral. To tone that down and add some grounding notes I decided to smoke the glass,” Buchter says.
The drink features the bright orange flavor you’d expect from a typical Sidecar, but serves it with a whiff of smoke and some vanilla notes courtesy of the whiskey.
If reproducing the pyrotechnics at home seems daunting, don’t feel pressured. You can skip that step and still end up with a satisfying whiskey-based Sidecar alternative.
“The drink is great without the smoke, too,” Buchter says.
2 ounces Bully Boy Distillers American Straight Whiskey
¾ ounce orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
½ ounce lemon juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters
Orange twist, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then double strain into a smoked coupe glass (see instructions below). Garnish with an orange twist.
To smoke your coupe glass: Torch a barrel stave or cedar board with a kitchen torch for 20 to 30 seconds, or until a flame appears. Invert the glass over the flame and allow it to fill with smoke.