5 Birmingham Cocktails To Try Now

July 10, 2013 | By | Comments (2)

In our August issue, we highlight why Birmingham is one of the hottest towns in the nation in “Sweet Home Alabama.” One key component: our bubbling cocktail scene. Thanks to a band of young bartenders who are working together to make the Magic City one of the best drinking towns in the South, there’s never been a better time to raise a glass to our hometown.

To bring the experience home, we asked five of our favorite local bartenders to create recipes based on the town we call home. Try your hand at any of these Test Kitchen-approved libations. 

dram cocktail 5 Birmingham Cocktails To Try Now

Rail Car at Avo & Dram

1. The Rail Car at Avo & Dram (2721 Cahaba Road)
Made By: Kyle Campbell, who is likely to chat with you about his love for road biking. He is often riding before the sun comes up. 
Why it Evokes the ‘Ham: “I wanted to create a cocktail with bold flavors that represents our blue-collar beginnings, something that is easy to drink and stiff enough to soothe aching muscles after a hard day’s work.”

Recipe: Combine 3 Tbsp. rye whiskey, 1 1/2 Tbsp. chicory liqueur (such as Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur), 1 Tbsp. simple syrup, and 2 dashes of orange bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 12-oz. glass filled with ice cubes. Rub glass rim with an orange peel strip, and add to drink. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 5 min., Total 5 min.

Hot and Hot Fish Club cocktail

Steel City Julep at Hot and Hot Fish Club

2. Steel City Julep at Hot and Hot Fish Club (2180 11th Court South)
Made By: William Hamrick, a gent who tends to chat about great food trips he’s taken. Ask him about Budapest.
Why it Evokes the ‘Ham: “This drink is an ode to the city’s industrial past. It is served in a metal vessel, and the crushed ice looks like coal when the blackberry drink is poured over top.”

Combine 3 Tbsp. *Blackberry Shrub, 2 Tbsp. cognac, 1 1/2 tsp. Fernet-Branca, and 1 1/2 tsp. orange liqueur (such as Cointreau) in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Cover with lid, and stir until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 12-oz. glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange peel strip.
Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 5 min., Total 50 min., including shrub

*Blackberry Shrub
Bring 1 (12-oz.) container fresh blackberries, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Champagne vinegar, and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a medium bowl; discard solids. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Hands-on 5 min., Total 45 min.

Veranda cocktail

Rain Delay at Veranda on Highland

3. Rain Relay at Veranda on Highland (2220 Highland Avenue South)
Made By: Baseball fanatic Steva Casey. Ask her about her fantasy baseball league.
Why it Evokes the ‘Ham: “Much of Birmingham’s culture is a mix of sweet and spicy—like girls dressed up in heels for a Monday night baseball game. This cocktail is reflective of that, with dark rum contrasted with Cynar and black pepper syrup, and a local beer that rounds out the flavors. It’s what I would drink while waiting for a rained-out Barons game to start.”

Recipe: Combine 3 Tbsp. gold rum, 2 Tbsp. Italian bitter liqueur (such as Cynar), and 2 Tbsp. *Black Pepper-Infused Syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Stir until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 12-oz. glass filled with ice cubes; top with 1/4 cup India pale ale beer (such as Good People American Pale Ale).
Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 5 min., Total 35 min., including syrup

*Black Pepper-Infused Syrup
Bring 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is fragrant. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl; discard solids. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 1/2 cup. Hands-on 5 min., Total 30 min.

Bettola cocktail

Iron Will at Vittoria Macelleria

4. Iron Will at Bettola & Vittoria Macelleria (2901 Second Avenue South)
Made By: Eric Bennett—bar manager and frisbee-pro extraordinaire.
Why it Evokes the ‘Ham: “The color of the drink symbolizes the red soil of Red Mountain, while hints of smoke connect the industrial past to a rejuvenated future.”

Recipe: Pour 1 tsp. Islay single malt Scotch whiskey (such as Laphroaig) into a 6- to 8-oz. stemmed glass, and swirl to coat inside of glass; discard any excess liquor. Fill glass with ice cubes. Combine 3 Tbsp. French apéritif wine (such as Bonal), 1 1/2 Tbsp. Italian bitter liqueur (such as Campari), 1 Tbsp. rhubarb liqueur (such as Rabarbaro Zucca Amaro), and if desired, 1 dash of celery bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Stir until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Remove ice from glass, and discard; strain liqueur mixture into chilled glass. Rub glass rim with an orange peel strip, and add to drink. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 5 min., Total 5 min.

Satterfields cocktail

Crimson Tribune at Satterfield’s

5. Crimson Tribune at Satterfield’s Restaurant (3161 Cahaba Heights Road)
Made By: Jazz lover Josh Schaff, who has been playing the saxophone for more than 10 years.
Why it Evokes the ‘Ham: “The aroma of honeysuckle permeates Birmingham this time of year. The Crimson Tribune is a riff on a Negroni with a scent that evokes a Southern summer.”

Recipe: Combine 3 Tbsp. honeysuckle-flavored vodka (such as Cathead Honeysuckle Flavored Vodka), 2 Tbsp. bitter orange liqueur (such as Aperol), 2 Tbsp. dry gin (such as Bombay Sapphire), 1 1/2 Tbsp. Italian bitter liqueur (such as Cynar), 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp. *Honey Syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 16-oz. glass filled with ice cubes. Top with 1/4 cup chilled club soda; gently stir. Garnish with fresh lemon slice.
Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 5 min., Total 30 min., including syrup

*Honey Syrup
Bring 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until honey is dissolved. Pour into a small bowl, and cool completely (about 20 minutes ). Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 1/2 cup. Hands-on 5 min., Total 25 min.

COMMENTS

  1. Sheila Luther (@Thrillckr)

    It’d be great to make these at home, but unfortunately, many of these liquors & liqueurs aren’t available retail in Alabama. Do I have to go to Georgia or Florida to make a Birmingham-centric drink? I’ll just have the bartenders who know what they’re doing do it for me! :)

    July 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm
  2. Stephanie Granada

    Hi Sheila! We actually recreated all these drinks in our Test Kitchen and found all of the ingredients at the ABC Liquor Store in Mountain Brook (2911 7th Avenue South) and the Western Supermarket (2717 Culver Road).

    Let us know how they turn out if you make any!

    August 2, 2013 at 11:03 am