By Omar Mamoon
By Kate Williams
By Pete Kane
By Molly Gore
By Lou Bustamante
By Anna Roth
The beauty of making cocktails from old recipes is more than the rediscovery of forgotten flavors. It's also in the mysteries that inevitably come with their creation — finding or making substitutions for unavailable liqueurs and spirits, deciphering archaic measurements, and translating those flavors to the modern palate.
Leave it to Eric Johnson and Thad Vogler to take an odd recipe from the famed 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book and make it into a complex and balanced drink so good they keep it off their standard cocktail menu (well, that's our guess). The Moonraker ($10) starts with Marian Farms biodynamic brandy, combined with Leopold Brothers Peach Brandy, Cocchi Americano (an aperitif wine flavored with herbs, spices, and the bitter cinchona bark), and a few dashes of absinthe.
The name is another mystery, coming from either the term for the highest sail of rigged ships, or a story of smugglers from Wiltshire, England. Although it does not come from the Roger Moore-era James Bond, it's the type of drink you could easily imagine the suave and dangerous agent enjoying.