21 Cocktails for Our 21st Birthday

We're celebrating our 21st year with 21 creative cocktail recipes from all over the country

SAVEUR’s first issue launched in the summer of 1994, which makes this year our 21st birthday—an occasion that we think certainly merits a cocktail. We asked our staffers about their first legal drinks, and answers ranged from shots of Wild Turkey to amaretto sours to Long Island Iced Teas, with Kamikazes and Lemon Drops extremely well-represented. This time around, we decided to celebrate with a little more sophistication, so we convinced 21 of our bartender friends—like Leo Robitschek of Eleven Madison Park and Elad Zvi and Gabriel Orta from The Broken Shaker—to make us a little something. They obliged with a flood of creative cocktail recipes, from dressed-up piña coladas to smoky sherry concoctions to twists on the old fashioned, ensuring that our first of-age sip will be a memorable one. Try one or two—or all 21—of these recipes, and celebrate along with us.

99 Problems But An Herb Ain’t One

Gin, lemongrass, ginger, and kaffir lime combine in this savory cocktail from Alex Straus of LA’s E.P. & L.P., who created it to complement the restaurant’s spicier dishes.

308 Peaches

A teaspoon of yogurt adds a subtle tang to this summery peach drink from Alexis Soler and Ben Clemons of Bar 308 in Nashville, Tennessee. Get the recipe for 308 Peaches »
Beth Dixon, bartender at Pasture in Richmond, Virginia, describes this fun cocktail as the lovechild of a Mai Tai and a Negroni. Get the recipe for Bermuda Hundred »

Floral Old Fashioned

Cameron Johnston of Gleneagles Hotel designed this drink for those who don’t usually go for a Scotch drink; chamomile syrup and Dalwhinnie 15 combine for a delicate cocktail with a still-smoky finish. Get the recipe for Floral Old Fashioned »

Last Pontoon

This drink takes cues from mole’s combination of smoky, sweet flavors, incorporating mezcal, sherry, dark rum, and cognac.

Romero and Julieta

Danny Sanchez of Rancho Pescadero in Mexico gave us the recipe for this vibrant, summery cocktail in honor of our 21st birthday. He starts with a tea made from dried hibiscus, then adds tequila, a rosemary-infused simple syrup, and lime juice. Get the recipe for Romero and Julieta »
Shaker Vodka Cranberry

Friends And Neighbors

This herbal, anise-capped riff on a negroni comes from Eric Foster of Florida’s Cask and Larder. In typical SAVEUR fashion, this cocktail is great for enjoying with a good meal, friends, and family. Get the recipe for Friends And Neighbors »

Gallagher Smash

For this summer refresher, Eric Johnson of Sycamore Den in San Diego makes a syrup with ripe watermelon and sugar, then combines it with sherry, gin, and muddled lemon. Get the recipe for Gallagher Smash »

Lavender Sour

JB Bernstein, bar manager at Vernick Food & Drink in Philadelphia, celebrates summer with this simple, floral gin cocktail, sweetened with lavender-infused syrup and garnished with lavender dust. Get the recipe for Lavender Sour >>

U.S.S. Wondrich

This tiki-inspired drink is based on the Adonis, a pre-prohibition recipe that is equal parts sherry and vermouth, with a balancing dash of bitters.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Portland’s Clyde Common adds a tropical spin to a classic sour cocktail with Jamaican rum and fresh citrus.

The Sabbath

The name of this cocktail—a cross between a White Russian and a Thai iced coffee—is a joking nod to John Goodman’s character in the film the Big Lebowski.

Slick Rick

Bartender John Maher of The Rogue Gentlemen in Richmond, Virginia, likes to incorporate savory ingredients into his drinks. In this sour, he pairs gin with an olive oil that has grassy, fruity notes. See the recipe for Slick Rick »

The Verbena and Mint

Bar manager Jon di Pinto of Street ADL in Adelaide, South Australia, combines lemon verbena and gin for a crisp, refreshing summer cocktail. Get the recipe for The Verbena and Mint »

If You Like Piña Colada

Leo Robitschek of Eleven Madison Park crafted this cocktail in honor of our 21st birthday, inspired by SAVEUR’s global influence. “While your average 21-year-old is spending their birthday getting a little too familiar with Jagermeister and Miller High-Life—not that there’s anything wrong with that—SAVEUR has already been around the world,” he says. “She’s sampled the best, and is hungry for more. Here, a perfect blend of some lesser-seen players: spicy rye, robust and savory-spiced velvet falernum, ancient and unapologetically vegetal green Chartreuse, and Linie aquavit, a spirit that, amazingly enough, has actually sailed around the world, aging in oak sherry casks to the rhythm of the rolling waves. Coconut, lime, and pineapple tie the package together; a somewhat more civilized yet totally delicious way to celebrate one’s twenty-first year.” Get the recipe for If You Like Piña Colada »

Evening Shade

Heaven Hill Distillery‘s brand abassador, Lynn House, enjoyed nothing more as a child than picking peaches and other fresh produce on her grandparents’ farm in Tennessee. She continues the tradition as an adult, incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into her cocktails whenever she can—hence her nickname, “The Garden Girl.” This summery drink combines peach purée, cucumber, and whiskey. Get the recipe for Evening Shade »

Milk Collins

Matteo Malisan, bar manager of The Zetter Townhouse in London, gave us the recipe for this modern, light twist on a classic milk punch. It uses gin instead of the more traditional whiskey, making it a perfect summer drink.

Spyglass

This smoky-sweet cherry cocktail from Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room is punched up with dark rum and softened with a long pour of Champagne. Get the recipe for Spyglass

Pimm’s Cup #21

Inspired by our list of Friday cocktails, bartender Michael Neff noticed that bitter flavors were prominent, as were fizzy drinks made with fresh fruit and herbs. To that end, he created a modified Pimm’s Cup, using Cynar to add a bit more bitter tang and ginger beer for spice. Fresh fruit and herbs round out the (almost) traditional summer refresher. Get the recipe for Pimm’s Cup #21 »

The Pennyworth

This nutty cocktail from Mike Bass of Florida’s Cask and Larder combines amaro, vermouth, and sherry with a tangy beet and carrot shrub.