Cocktail of the Month: Automobile

Refreshing and aromatic, the adaptation of this Edwardian era recipe calls for loaf sugar, aromatic bitters, and Crème Yvette.


Recipe courtesy of Jack McGarry, co-owner and head bartender, The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, New York City

Refreshing and aromatic, this is an adaptation of a drink dating back to 1903, a time when horseless carriages were still considered opulent oddities. The Edwardian era recipe calls for loaf sugar, aromatic bitters, and Crème Yvette.

McGarry’s update adds dimension, while still retaining the fizz and bittersweet flavors of the original.

1 ounce Pernod Absinthe
½ ounce Marie Brizard
Parfait Amour
½ ounce simple syrup
4 dashes Bittermens Orchard
Street Celery Shrub
3 ounces Piper-Heidsieck
NV Brut Champagne
Lemon peel twist, for garnish

Add Pernod, Parfait Amour, simple syrup and Celery Shrub to a mixing glass with ice. Stir well, then strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Gently twist the lemon peel over the drink to extract the oils, and add as garnish.

About the Mixologist

In most bars, the cocktail menu—if it exists at all—is a page or two, or at best, a paltry pamphlet. But at The Dead Rabbit, a newcomer to New York’s Wall Street area, when you ask for the cocktail menu you’re handed what looks like a leather-bound novel that holds 72 different drinks.

Putting together a menu of such scope forced McGarry to test—and adjust for the modern palate—thousands of recipes from scores of cocktail books from the mid-19th century.
“It was a tough job,” he says in his Irish brogue, “but someone had to do it.”

McGarry arrived in New York after stints at Milk & Honey in London and, most famously, The Merchant Hotel in Belfast, where he worked with Dead Rabbit co-owner Sean Muldoon, helping transform The Merchant into one of the best cocktail bars in Europe.

The Dead Rabbit—which derives its name from a New York City Irish street gang of the 1850s—was conceived by Muldoon as a cross between a “warm, rough and ready” beer and whiskey tavern on the first floor, and a world-class cocktail bar on the second floor.

McGarry’s cocktails celebrate three different cultures: English, American and French (not necessarily Irish, he admits, although the first-floor tavern houses specially designed Guinness taps and one of the most extensive collections of Irish whiskeys in New York).

“I wanted it to celebrate all the styles, drinks and grogs of the era,” he says. “The fun challenge was making sure they were acceptable for a 21st century customer."

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