Negroni Week

The Negroni: three simple ingredients, one magnifico cocktail. Although it doesn’t enjoy the widespread popularity or iconic status of the Martini, Manhattan, or Old-Fashioned, in terms of flavor and character the Negroni is every bit on par with these giants of the cocktail kingdom.

Comprised of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari (a bitter-sweet Italian liqueur) and garnished with an orange twist or slice, the Negroni is traditionally served as an aperitif cocktail but delicious enough to enjoy any time of the day.

Falling on the drier side of the cocktail spectrum and dominated by citrusy, herbal, and fairly bitter notes, the Negroni makes for a great introduction to the wide and wonderful world of bitter, complex, amaro-based cocktails.

Cocktail lore ties the creation of the Negroni to Count Camillo Negroni of Italy, a famous tippler of the early 1900s. The story goes that Count Negroni asked his bartender to up the ante on his favorite cocktail, the Americano (sweet vermouth, Campari, and club soda), by substituting gin for the usual soda water and—violá! (or as the Count would say, ecco!)—the Negroni was born. True to the Count’s taste, the Negroni packs a boozy punch, so be careful if imbibing more than one or two.

If you haven't tried a Negroni yet, today's kickoff of Negroni Week, an international charity event celebrating this great cocktail, is the perfect time to do so.

Cin cin!

THE NEGRONI

1 oz London Dry Gin

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

1 oz Campari

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, stir with ice for at least 30 seconds, strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice, garnish with a large orange twist.

H&M VIP Grand Opening

Last Wednesday we got to rock it at the H&M VIP Grand Opening here in Anchorage to a packed house. We saw a lot of familiar faces there and our buddy Shane Spencer (https://about.me/ShaneSpencer) took some killer photos on the scene between his shaking and stirring duties. Check them out below and stayed tuned for the next Sawbuck event!

A very special thanks to our crew - which blow it up like no other. Craig Zematis, Brian Zematis, Tim Paszalek, Amy Bethka, Katherine Jernstrom, Erin Shine, Ashley Lally, Cassidy Landes, Athena Fulton, Greg Jernstrom, Kristin Lawrence, and many others that helped make this event happen (fruit juicers you know who you are)!

The Sawbuck Party Requirements

We get a lot of questions about how our parties work - and here is The Sawbuck manifesto that breaks it down for you. If you have questions - here is the place to start!

1. The event must be invite-only. The Sawbuck loves an open party, but it’s only an option if we partner with an establishment that has a liquor license. Otherwise your event will have to be closed to the public.

2. The event must be hosted — guests cannot be charged for drinks or admission. The Sawbuck and our TAM-carded mixologists are not allowed to sell drinks or handle money — we can only prepare and serve alcohol that has been generously provided by the host.

3. All alcohol must be purchased by the host. We can pick it up and mix it up, but you’ll have to purchase it.  We know who has the best deals on liquor around town and we’ll give you a detailed list of prices and quantities of all the alcohol you’ll need for your event. We’ll even pick it up from the store for you.

-The Sawbuck

photo credit Lena Stevens at www.stevensimagery.com 

Happy New Year and Special Thanks

Thanks to everyone for joining us for last night's sold-out private launch party and cheers to the folks that helped make it such a spectacular event, especially The Boardroom for the amazing digs, Resolution Brewing Company for premiering some of their fantastic brews, Orzel Photography for capturing a ton of great moments (check out the event pics here), and The Zematis Bros. for kicking ass behind the bar - and for ringing in the New Year with the Sawbuck’s first ever freestyle hip-hop toast!

Welcome to 2015! Stay tuned for The Sawbuck’s next private event...

NYE Menu - The Red Hook and the Negroni

The final two drinks on our NYE menu are the Red Hook, a Manhattan dressed up with a dash of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, and the Negroni, a bitter but refreshing bartended favorite (which happens to be our staff cocktail tonight) -- if you like 'em strong, herbaceous, and citrusy, this just might become your favorite drink of 2015!

NYE Menu - Moscow Mule

Although Americans drink three times more of it than any other spirit, vodka didn’t make its grand premier on the cocktail scene until the 1940s. Because of vodka’s late entrée – and because most cocktail geeks hesitate to call anything a “classic” unless it was concocted prior to the end of Prohibition – you won’t find many vodka drinks on classic cocktail menus.

However, one vodka drink you will find on the menu at The Sawbuck is the Moscow Mule – a delicious and refreshing highball that forever changed Americans’ boozing habits and earned itself the special, oxymoronic title of a true “modern classic.”

Cocktail lore has it that the Moscow Mule kicked its way into the cocktail scene 1941, when the American businessman who bought the Smirnoff name from a Russian family (but was having a hard time finding an American audience for the stuff) encountered an L.A. bar owner who was overstocked on ginger beer. Having little to lose, the two gentlemen threw their respective wares together with some fresh lime, served it up in a copper mug, and dubbed it the irresistibly alliterative Moscow Mule. 

The drink was a hit and it wasn’t long before it swept the country from its L.A. bar of origin all the way to the clubs of Manhattan, sparking a vodka craze that would only increase in fervor in the ensuing decades. In the 1950s, Americans subbed vodka for gin in their Martinins; in the ‘60s and ‘70s they swapped it for rum and whiskey in their highballs; they poured it over New Coke in the ‘80s; and they mixed it with everything under the sun during the “(insert favorite candy-store flavor here)-tini” craze of the ‘90s and early 2000s. 

However, few – if any – of the drinks concocted during vodka’s decades-long, Russian Army-like march over of the cocktail kingdom have withstood the test of time like the truly modern classic Moscow Mule.

Na zdorovje!

NYE Menu - Amaretto Sour

For many, the Amaretto Sour brings to mind the worst a bad cocktail has to offer: cloyingly sweet almond-flavored liqueur, fluorescent-yellow pre-made sour mix, and a bright red maraschino cherry the likes of which mother nature never intended. 

If this describes your experience of an Amaretto Sour, for fuck’s sake quit ordering those kinds of drinks at that kind of bar!  When made right – with fresh lemon juice, top-shelf Amaretto, and a hearty slug of cask-strength bourbon, all whipped together with fresh egg white – the Amaretto Sour is a sublime combination of sweet, boozy, citrusy, and frothy. 

The Amaretto Sour recipe we use at The Sawbuck is based on Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s over-the-top version of the drink – take the time to read about Jeffrey’s hardly-humble take on this classic cocktail and to introduce yourself to one of our all-time-favorite bartender heroes here

 Cheers!


NYE Menu - The French 75

The French 75, the second drink on our NYE menu, blends the brightness of citrus and the effervescence of champagne with the spirituous, botanical character of London dry gin. Both classic and classy, the French 75 is a perfect cocktail to toast the New Year with.

One version of the French 75's origin has the drink being created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled by the powerful 75 mm artillery cannon favored by the French during World War I.

For an alternate take on the origin, check out cocktail historian David Wondrich's great article on the French 75 here.


NYE Menu - The Old Fashioned

The first cocktail on our NYE menu is the Old Fashioned, a truly timeless classic and the epitome of the original 1806 definition of a cocktail: “a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar.” 

Don’t be intimidated by the “potent” and “bitters” verbiage, though – this one’s smooth and balanced, with delicious hints of vanilla, citrus and baking spices, all complimented by one of our signature brandied cherries. 

Some of you might be curious about the bitters featured in the Old Fashioned and many of our other classic cocktails. Bitters are the condiments – or the salt and pepper – of the cocktail world. They balance cocktails by tying ingredients together, highlighting certain notes, and adding depth and complexity. 

The term bitters is actually a bit of a misnomer, as they aren’t always bitter and are used in such small quantities – usually just a dash or two – that they’re either mellowed by other ingredients or balanced with a sweetener like sugar, honey, or maple syrup (three of our favorites). 

Read more about bitters here or check out Brad Parsons’ amazing book, Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All.