Adam H. Graham
for Valet.

Essential Home Bar

The Best Booze, Bitters and Bar Tools for the Ideal At-Home Drink


The Recipes

Presented by Don Q Rum

The number one rum
in the land of rum

You've got all the supplies and techniques down, now you just need some inspiration. There's nothing wrong with a classic Gin & Tonic, but we've asked the country's best bartenders for some of their local favorites—from a ham-infused Chicago cocktail to an update on Hemingway's iconic Key West daiquiri.

Select a Region
Remember the Maine
Grill Room, Portland, ME

Named after William Randolph Hearst's war-inciting headline "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain." after the USS Maine was attacked by the Spanish in Havana in 1898. Originally mixed by Charles Baker in 1933.

  • 1 jigger good rye whiskey
  • 1/2 jigger Italian vermouth
  • 1 to 2 tsp of cherry brandy
  • 1/2 tsp absinthe or Veritas

"Stir briskly [with ice] in a clock-wise fashion—this makes it sea-going, presumably!—turn into a big chilled saucer champagne glass, twisting a curl of green lime or lemon peel over the top." - Charles Baker

King Edward
The Vanderbilt, Brooklyn, NY

Named after The King Edward Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi, and meant to evoke cherry vanilla pipe tobacco flavors. Originally mixed by Brian Patrick Floyd in 2008.

  • 1 3/4 oz Wild Turkey Rye 101
  • 3/4 oz Cherry Heering
  • Splash of a vanilla syrup - made by mixing a simple syrup, Tahitian vanilla extract and Benedictine

Garnish with a brandied cherry. The surface of the finished drink is then sprayed with an Islay Scotch to impart a smoky nose (Floyd uses Ardbeg).

Dark & Stormy
Bar Seven Five in Andaz Hotel, New York, NY

Named after the clouds the dark rum forms in the ginger beer. The original Dark 'n Stormy is actually trademarked, registered and staunchly defended by Gosling's Rum. But Wall Street, a stormy place indeed, has its own version, first mixed by Toby Maloney in 2007.

  • 1 1/2 oz aged rum
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz ginger syrup
  • Combine in a shaker and strain into a highball glass
  • Top with club soda
  • Float 1/2 oz dark rum

Garnish with a piece of ginger candy.

For Ginger Syrup:
Using a centrifugal juicer, juice one pound of fresh, peeled ginger root. By volume add twice the amount of superfine sugar. Incorporate. I find it easiest to put it all in a blender and blend on low for 3 minutes. You can also just put it in a jar and shake until smooth. Takes about 5 minutes of shaking.

Star of The Sea Bloody Mary
Buttermilk Channel, Brooklyn, NY

Named after the Star of The Sea Church in Carroll Gardens where Al Capone got married. Originally mixed in Paris by Fernand Petiot in 1921, Chris Davies updated it in 2008.

Combine these ingredients. Mix and pour in a 12 oz glass over ice. Garnish with a freshly shucked oyster on the half shell on the rim of the glass.

  • 4 oz tomato juice
  • 1/2 tsp horseradish
  • 1/8 tsp celery salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes Tobasco
  • 1 1/2 oz cucumber and dill infused vodka

For Vodka:
Pour a 750ml bottle of vodka into a large glass container. Add one bunch of dill and 2 peeled and thinly sliced cucumbers (exact measurements aren't important). Let sit for 5 to 7 days at room temperature.

Special Promotion by DonQ Rum

Red Rum Smash
  • 2 oz DonQ cristal
  • 1 oz sparkling wine
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 splash raspberry schnapps
  • 5 raspberries
  • Lime wedge and additional raspberries for garnish

Combine the DonQ, simple syrup, lime juice schnapps and whole raspberries, shake and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Top with the sparkling wine. Use a raspberry and lime wheel as garnish.

- Esteban Ordoñez, DonQ Mixologist

The Primavera Daiquiri
Bar Lab, Miami, FL

Named after a beach in Cuba, the daiquiri became popular in the 1940s and was a favorite of Hemmingway and JFK. Originally mixed by an anonymous bartender in 1800 at a bar named Venus in Santiago, Cuba, this update is from Gabriel Orta of Miami's Bar Lab.

  • 1 1/2 oz dark rum
  • 3/4 oz maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz lulo juice (like the cousin of passion fruit, bitter and sweet like a grapefruit)
Old Fashioned
Proof on Main at the 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY

Named after a long-gone brand of whiskey that was the original backbone of the cocktail. Originally mixed by an unknown bartender at Louisville's Pendennis Club in the 1880s. The recipe was later brought to NYC's Waldorf Astoria Hotel bar by bourbon distiller Colonel James Pepper. Jenni Pittman created this version in 2009.

  • 1 orange slice
  • 1 small lemon slice
  • 1 cherry
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Muddle it all together. Add 1 1/2 oz of Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Add ice, stir.

That Night a Forest Grew
Cure, New Orleans, LA

Named after the phrase popularized in Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. Originally mixed by Danny Valdez in 2009.

  • 2 oz Dios Bacos Oxford 1970 Pedro Ximenez Sherry
  • 1 oz unfiltered apple juice
  • 1/2 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
  • 6 drops Tabasco
  • 6 drops Sriracha hot sauce
  • Whole egg

Shake, double strain into a cocktail glass. Mist Chichicapa Mezcal on top.

Two Saints Cocktail

Named after the establishment's two favorite saints, Saint Cecilia and the St. Gremain elderflower liqueur. Originally mixed by Lisa Reile in 2009.

  • 1 1/2 oz No. 209 Gin
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • Splash of Topp Chico sparkling water
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed orange

Special Promotion by DonQ Rum

Vintage Daiquiri
  • 2 oz DonQ Anejo Rum
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz dark sugar syrup
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo Cherry Liqueur
  • 1 dash of Angostura bitters
  • Lime peel for garnish

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a wide lime peel.

- Esteban Ordoñez, DonQ Mixologist

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, San Francisco, CA

Named after a smartass Irishman who works at Absinthe. Originally mixed by Carlos Yturria in 2010.

  • 1 1/2 oz Jameson
  • 1/2 oz Nocino Walnut Liquor
  • Half bar spoon of Saba (vinegar reduction from grape musk and quince) available in stores

Add Ice. Stir all ingredients. Garnish with an orange peel.

Michelada Clasica
Loteria Grill, Los Angeles, CA

Named after a Spanish colloquialism meaning 'My Iced Beer.' Originally mixed by an anonymous bartender in the 1940s.

  • 1-2 key limes (to taste)
  • Bottle of Sol beer
  • Dash of Maguey, Tapatio and Worcestershire sauce

Salt the rim of the glass, add ice and lime juice. Add the spices, cerveza and serve on the rocks.

Green Chile Margarita
Coyote Café, Santa Fe, NM

Named after many different Margaritas, including a story about it being named after Rita Hayworth, who was Margarita Cansino before she gave good face on the big screen. This version was originally mixed by Quinn Stephans in 2010.

  • 2 oz 1800 Silver tequila
  • 1 oz Bols Triple Sec
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz Northern New Mexico green chile juice

Shake vigorously for two seconds and pour entire contents into a salt-rimmed glass.

For Green Chile Juice:
Finely chop 6 fresh green chiles and place in a blender with 1 ounce of water. Blend thoroughly, then separate the juice from the pulp using a fine strainer. Keep the green chile juice in a squeeze bottle or other suitable container and keep refrigerated.

Violet Beauregarde
Spruce, San Francisco, CA

Named after the Roald Dahl character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This cocktail with edible flowers was originally mixed by Brandon Clements in 2009.

  • 2 purple violets
  • 2 white violets
  • 4-5 blueberries
  • 3/4 oz lemongrass syrup
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/3 oz Pages Parfait Amour Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz Beefeater 24 Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Fever Tree Bitter Lemon soda

Fill a collins glass with ice, interspersing violets throughout. Combine berries, syrup, and lemon juice in a mixing glass and muddle thoroughly. Add liqueur and gin to glass, fill with ice and shake vigorously. Add bitter lemon soda to mixture and pour into prepared collins glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Special Promotion by DonQ Rum

Thai Mojito
  • 5-7 leaves of purple basil (Thai basil)
  • 2 oz DonQ Cristal
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Club soda for topping
  • Lime wedge for garnish

Place the leaves, simple syrup and lime juice in the mixing glass and muddle. Pour in the DonQ, fill with ice and shake. Strain over an ice filled highball, top with club soda and garnish with lime and purple basil leaf.

- Esteban Ordoñez,
DonQ Mixologist

Nordeaster Martini
Nye's Polonaise Room, Minneapolis, MN

Named after Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth, the martini has been the distinguished drink of FDR, Cary Grant, James Bond and Brian, that dog from Family Guy. Originally mixed by an anonymous bartender shortly after Martini Rosso dry vermouth arrived in the US in 1863.

  • 3 parts Stolichnaya vodka
  • 1 part Leroux Polish blackberry brandy
Ginger Toddy
Violet Hour, Chicago, IL

Named after the toddy in India, which is fermented palm sap. Originally mixed by Toby Maloney in 2009.

  • 2 oz Lairds Bonded Applejack
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz ginger syrup
  • 3 dash Regans' Orange Bitters #6

Top with hot water. Garnish with an orange peel studded with cloves.

For Ginger Syrup:
Combine one part juice from fresh ginger root with two parts superfine sugar in a blender and blend on low for 3 minutes. You can also just put it in a jar and shake until smooth (about 5 minutes).

Ham and Cheese
Nacional 27, Chicago, IL

Named after the sandwich, crafted with pork infused cognac and aged Spanish cheese. This hardy midwestern cocktail was originally mixed by Adam Seger in 2008.

  • 2 oz Luxe Ham cognac
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 oz honey syrup
  • Manchego tuile, for garnish

Combine Luxe Ham cognac, lime juice, and honey syrup in a shaker. Top with cheese across the glass and garish with a rosemary sprig.

For Ham Cognac:
Infuse an Iberico (Pata Negra) Ham Leg in 1 1/2 liters of Chateau Montifaud VSOP Cognac for two weeks, covered and refrigerated.

For Honey Syrup:
Heat 1 quart of wildflower honey with 1/3 cup of water and three large sticks of Caribbean cinnamon (Cannella) to a simmer. Cover and let cool. Put through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate.

For Manchego Tuile:
Shave aged Manchego onto parchment paper to create a sheet of 1/4 inch thick cheese. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until light brown and crisped. Let cool and cut into 2 by 6-inch strips. Keep airtight at room temperature.

Special Promotion by DonQ Rum

El Italiano
  • 1 oz DonQ Limon
  • 1 oz DonQ Cristal
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Grapefruit peel for garnish

Pour all the ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice and stir with a bar spoon for 10 seconds or until the glass is well frosted. Serve onto a chilled martini glass, rim the glass with the grapefruit peel and drop it in.

- Esteban Ordoñez, DonQ Mixologist

Moscow Mule
8K, Aspen, CO

Named after the combo of Russian vodka and kick of the ginger beer, the Moscow Mule is the original bi-coastal beverage and helped launch the vodka craze of the 1960's. Originally mixed by NYC's John G. Martin and LA's John Morgan in 1941.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz ginger syrup
  • 1/4 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Shake and strain over ice, finish with club soda, garnish with a lime.


Related on Valet

Cocktail Recipes

An interactive coast to coast map of the best American-made vodkas today.


The only way to open a bottle of Champagne? The age old technique known as sabering. Here's how to do it.


The headache. The nausea. The bloodshot eyes. We present the cure to your ills.