I’m very excited about today’s post because Pharmacie is LA’s premiere company for classic, handcrafted cocktails that whisk you away to the roaring twenties. We were able to chat with Talmadge Lowe, Pharmacie’s owner and insanely talented mixologist, about how he makes a good cocktail taste better! He’s also kindly sharing a signature, old fashioned vodka cocktail recipe with us. It’s definitely one you want to make!
1. What the heck are you guys thinking making drinks that good? You were the biggest hit at our party! If you could offer one piece of advice for aspiring mixologists who want to craft a fine cocktail, what would it be?
Balance and democracy. Remember that all cocktails should have a balance of sweet/sour/spirit/bitter. And be Democratic – make drinks for everyone, not just yourself.
2. Is there a basic formula for making a great cocktail, like “base, sweet, sour” kind of thing?
Harmony. I think it’s important to taste all ingredients and that they should work and blend in harmony with each other.
3. What are a few of your current favorite ingredients/flavors?
Allspice Liqueur is getting a lot of play in my experimentation. People generally feel it’s “wintry” but I want to make cocktails that showcase its spice and body in a way that feels like warm weather drinks.
I’ve also been tinkering with the structure of an Old Fashioned. So many possibilities there!
4. What is a tincture and what’s a good basic one to have on hand?
A tincture is basically a syrup with some kind of spirit added. A basic simple syrup with a little Campari would be a bittersweet tincture and would be very refreshing in a spiked lemonade or just mixed with club soda.
5. What’s your fave mid-priced booze? You know “cost efficient” booze!
So many good ones. City of London Gin and Elijah Craig 12 Yr Bourbon are at the top of my list.
6. What’s your go-to drink at the moment?
Old Fashioneds. Can’t beat ’em.
7. Drink and type of liquor in it that wins over skeptics.
Make someone a Sidecar sometime. That’s the drink that turned me into a cocktail aficionado.
8. Shaken or stirred?
Thank you Talmadge for helping us all become better mixologists!
Pharmacie Cocktail Recipe
2 oz Vodka
1 oz French (Dry) Vermouth
1 oz Mint Syrup
Mint Syrup is just water (10oz) and sugar (8 oz) and 3-4 fist-sized bunches of mint. Heat sugar and water until the sugar dissolves, take off heat and add mint for steeping. Always let it cool to room temperature before using. Refrigerating over night is preferred.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Emerling