Five Re-Imagined Classic Drinks For The Early Fall

re-imagined classic drinks

Tomatoes are just bursting out all over. But what can I do with all of them?  If you are like me, I’d get roasting. 

Warren Bobrow

Roasting? Certainly roasting tomatoes for something truly unique and different. The Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary cocktail. Bloody Mary cocktails should be one of the leaders of your bar’s repertoire of re-imagined classic drinks. 

Do you want to raise the bar to a higher level? I hope you do because this one is way over the top.

Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary

Pre-prep:  on an olive oil greased sheet pan, place halved tomatoes.  Roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour.  Let cool.  Crush through a potato ricer reserving as much juice as you can, imagine roasting about five sheet trays worth, about ½ case of tomatoes.  If they are ugly, all the better- cut away the ugly parts and roast away!    You’ll want to sprinkle some Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper over the top and then into the oven.  And don’t pick up the hot pan with a wet rag, even if the chef threw it to you.  Let the tomatoes cool well before putting them through the ricer.  And always ask before you do anything in the kitchen.  Better to be safe with the silo’s in the front vs. the back…, than sorry.  Juice ‘em… and then add:


NYSRA March 2019 728×90

  • 4-6 oz. Roasted Tomato Juice- keep it chunky!
  • 1 oz. Fresh Horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/10th teaspoon smoked chili pepper- you can buy in an ethnic market
  • Dash Celery Salt
  • 1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Touch of Worcester Sauce
  • Some Angostura- how much?  You’ll know.
  • Vodka of your choice. I use Claremont from Fairfield, NJ.  It’s distilled from potatoes.  Yours is probably distilled from grain, which will not taste the same.  Potatoes are different. They are more expensive.  But this is about luxury, not cheap.  I’m not recommending using cheap vodka.


  1. Add all the ingredients to a Boston Shaker- ¾ filled with ice- yet DO NOT SHAKE.
  2. Cap and roll your tomato-based cocktails.  Never shake them.  I know you’re in a hurry! Don’t shake!

The next take on a classic is the Manhattan.  Instead of doing the same old thing, year in, and then year out, why not take this venerable cocktail to the next level?  The first thing that you can (should do) is find the correct glassware.  Start by going to garage sales and find some mismatched glasses from another generation.  Make these glasses your specialty glasses for this cocktail.  Next, procure some funky bitters.  Get out of your comfort zone and buy the brilliant DALE DEGROFF’S PIMENTO AROMATIC BITTERS™ are my call for this cocktail.  Next, I’d shake up the flavor profile by using an Amaro like Ramozzotti.  It has the perfect balance of bitter to sweet.  Try it instead of that flat, sweet vermouth kicking around the top of the fridge.  And if you are using an old bottle of vermouth, throw it out.  I’m sure you’re not refrigerating it- no more than lightly fortified wine. It’s probably bad by now.

Amaro Manhattan- bitters finished

re-imagined classic drinksIngredients:

  • Pre-chilled rocks glass, sprinkled with the Pimento bitters to coat the inside of the glass fully
  • Lemon zest- crushed into the Pimento bitters wetted glass
  • 3 oz. Barrell Bourbon Whiskey #012
  • 1 oz. Ramozzotti Amaro


  1. To the pre-chilled and bitters added with lemon zest, stir the bourbon into the Amaro over ice
  2. Strain into the rocks glass, either with a large cube of ice, or without. Your choice.
  3. Dot with more bitters if desired and/or a lemon twist

Rum and Cola

It better be real rum, like Foursquare- no caramel color, nor sugar, nor glycerin, nor chill filtering ever permitted. And your Cola? I love Q-Drinks Cola- also the Fever Tree products.  There are some others.  Be careful not to use a corn syrup cola- it is just not the same thing as a good old-fashioned Mexican Coke.


  • Pre-prep:  Roast or grill orange wedges, set aside
  • 3 oz. Foursquare Rum- or the Rum of your choice
  • 6 oz. Cane Sugar Cola – or the one of your choice
  • 1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • ¼ oz. Angostura Bitters


  1. To a Collins Glass filled ¾ with ice
  2. Add the Rum and the Cola
  3. Top with the lime juice and the Angostura
  4. Give a Swizzle or stir
  5. Garnish with a grilled/roasted orange hunk and squeeze into the drink

Vietnamese Lemonade with Gin

I love Vietnamese lemonade.  Perhaps it’s the smack of tart lemon when combined with a portion of simple syrup that gets my attention.  I’m pretty sure that the pinch of sea salt is what keeps me coming back for more.  I used a London Dry style gin with a twist.  The Salubrious Breakfast Gin from FEW Spirits in the Chicago area.  It has a touch of Earl Grey tea in the mix.  Very creative indeed.


  • 3 oz. FEW Spirits Breakfast Gin
  • 6 oz. Vietnamese Lemonade- fresh lemonade made with simple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ice spear


  1. Add an ice spear to a Collins Glass
  2. Pour the Breakfast Gin into the glass
  3. Top with the Vietnamese Lemonade
  4. Pinch a bit of Sea Salt over the top
  5. Serve

The final drink for the season involves a shrub.  No, not a shrubbery, a plant from your backyard- this is an acidulated beverage that works against a stomach ache- from being yelled at by your chef for touching his ovens without asking to use it first.  I’m giving a quick shrub because you can make it in under an hour.  Pretty good when you’re in a hurry.

Fast Peach Shrub and a faster Gingery/Peach/Rum punch


  • 1 cup peach puree
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz. White Rum
  • 12 oz. Ginger Beer
  • Lime wedges (freshly cut!)
  • Angostura Bitters


  1. Combine the peach puree with the balsamic vinegar, stir well to combine
  2. To a Boston Shaker, fill ¾ with ice
  3. Add the White Rum
  4. Add 3-4 oz. of the peach puree and white balsamic vinegar mixture
  5. Cap and Shaker really hard for 30 seconds
  6. Pour over ice
  7. Top with Ginger Beer
  8. Garnish with fresh lime
  9. Dot with Angostura
  10. Yum factor of 1000%