It’s a drink that throws back to LA’s golden age (though, as we showed you in issue 2, LA is pretty damn golden these days). The Brown Derby, a nice blend of bourbon, citrus, and something sweet, was named after the famous Brown Derby restaurant, and invented in the `30s at the see-and-be-seen Vendome Club. But, as much as I like a drink with a good ol’ story, the Brown Derby is great because it has balance. Also, refreshing, a trait you don’t normally assign to bourbon.
A bartender once told me he likes to drink them in the morning with brunch, and while I think bourbon in the morning slides the slippery slope towards Betty Ford, I do see his point. It’s a bright little taste
Perhaps best of all it’s really straightforward, with just three ingredients that you either already have or can get super conveniently. Meaning if you’re having friends over or simply want a simple cocktail after grinding all day, you can pull this one off sweat-free.
- 2 oz Bourbon
- 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
- .5 oz honey syrup (2 part honey, 1 part water)
- Garnish: grapefruit twist
Add bourbon, juice, and syrup to a shaker with ice, and shake well. Strain into a martini glass or coupe or something like that. Finish with a grapefruit peel as a garnish (give it a twist as you add it to the glass so you can smell the citrus and give the drink a bit of acidity).
Some tips: One, make sure the grapefruit is fresh, not frozen or bottled or something worse. Two, go heavy on the honey—honey in cocktails is unique, so let it shine!—Paul Brewer