Prior to the holiday (yes, I’m behind), I was invited to attend an amazing cocktail class — deemed The Alchemy Sessions — with Greg Seider. Seider is one of the trailblazers of the cocktail movement and is known for creating cocktail programs for renowned restaurants like Le Bernadin, The Mercer Kitchen and Minetta Tavern, as well as his own Summit Bar and Manhattan Cricket Club. And now, Seider has a new book — Alchemy in a Glass.
Alchemy in a Glass features more than 50 cocktail recipes — from the classics (like the Negroni) to Seider’s original creations (like the “Charmane Star”). Each recipe showcases Seider’s “blueprint” as to how one can construct a balanced drink at home via foundation, dimension, finish — focusing on how flavors work together and transform during the life of the drink.
During the class, we made the Negroni (recipe below), the Guv’nor (a scotch sour featuring Yamazaki 12-year Japanese whiskey and yuzu juice) and the Off to the Races (a whiskey sour featuring Georgia peach nectar rooibos-infused bourbon). We also learned a few general cocktail-making tips, like:
- Keep it cold! Use one pound of ice to make each cocktail
- Don’t be lazy with shaking/stirring! The process infuses about an ounce and a half of water into the cocktail, which is important to the overall balance of the finished product
- Skin side up! When adding citrus to a finished cocktail, the skin of the citrus should face the glass
All great cocktails aside, another amazing component of the event was being able to see the inner workings of Chicago’s amazing Rare Tea Cellar. Anyone who follows Rare Tea Cellar’s owner, Rodrick Markus, on Instagram knows that this guy is a foodie and flavor GOD. In fact, Seider and Markus worked together on the creation of many of the cocktails featured in Alchemy in a Glass.
Just look at this place. It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory — but better.
And in true Markus fashion, he treated all of us to a pizza covered in freshly-shaved truffles.
It was an indulgent night, indeed.
Seider’s Negroni (makes one cocktail)
Recipe from Alchemy in a Glass by Greg Seider
What you need:
- 1 1/2 ounces dry gin (I used No. 3 London Dry Gin as suggested by Seider)
- 3/4 ounce Aperol (which is less bitter than the classically-used Campari)
- 3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Orange twist for garnish
How you do it:
- Shake all ingredients, plus ice, in a shaker tin
- Strain over fresh ice
- Garnish with orange twist