“This smooth cocktail starts with the high notes from the mandarin and the sweetness from the walnut and vermouth,” says mixologist and beverage director Cristopher Wagner of New York City’s PS Kitchen. He created the Saged Sherry with bartender Tracy Fabricante. “There’s a bit of a viscous mouth feel from the pear puree, and you finish with a bold, smooth note from the whisky. The aftertaste is the black walnut and some dryness from the hay.” For a campfire experience, smoke the glass first.
- 1½ oz. Rozelieures Single Malt French Whisky Smoked Collection or other smoky whisky
- ½ oz. Calvados
- ½ oz. walnut liqueur
- ½ oz. black walnut and hay bitters (recipe below)
- ½ oz. blanc vermouth
- ½ oz. mandarin liqueur
- ½ oz. pear puree
- Garnish: sage leaf
Add all ingredients to a glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain and serve neat in a rocks glass. Garnish with fresh sage leaf.
(Optional: On a fireproof surface, make a small pile of dried and fresh sage, half a cinnamon stick, and hay. Light on fire. Extinguish the flame by covering with the rocks glass, and let the glass smoke while you prepare the cocktail.)
How to make Black Walnut and Hay Bitters
- 16 oz. high-proof vodka
- ½ cup black walnuts
- 4 oz. (1 good handful) organic hay (available at Organic Hay Co. or Baldor Specialty Food)
Combine all ingredients and let steep in an airtight container. Stir and taste every day. Steep until smooth on the throat when you swallow, about 7 to 15 days. Strain and transfer into a clean glass container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to two months.