Every cocktail acknowledges the history of classic cocktails that have come before it. The question is simple: how to find the right ingredients to create a cocktail that is both pleasurably drinkable and achieves a certain amount of inebriation, all while packaged in an interesting concept? The same question applies to life: how to find the right ingredients and then put a twist to it that tells a better story about ourselves? The Randy Lady is a playful and ingenuous twist on the classic Manhattan that tells a story about the bar’s location and identity.
The Randy Lady may be inspired by the Manhattan but she is a very Brooklyn cocktail. First of all, she is named after Lady Randolph Churchill, a socialite in late 19th century Brooklyn. Then comes the Widow Jane’s Rye Whiskey, very conveniently produced in Brooklyn. Widow Jane provides the backbone of the drink. After the whiskey comes a Swedish liqueur that I am afraid to pronounce, but I so pleasurably enjoyed. Geijer Glögg brings some very intense spices of cinnamon, clove, and cardamon that easily substitute the sweet vermouth to create a more flavorful and intricate Manhattan. Fresh cinnamon tops it all off and the smell of it will intrigue you from across the bar. A painstakingly burnt twist of orange is added on top but is better enjoyed at the bottom of the drink when you are reaching your last sips.
Apart from being a socialite, Lady Randolph Churchill was Winston Churchill’s mother. She crossed the Atlantic to Britain to be wedded to Lord Randolph Churchill. Jamie Schmitz owner of The Rookery, traveled the other way around and the cocktail’s name and concept represent the Anglo-American vision he has for The Rookery.
In between cigarettes, Jamie spoke of how Winston Churchill had once said that if he’d do it all over again, he’d do it in the United States. The Randy Lady is this twist he had wished for, incarnated in a drink. Maybe he’d enjoy the rye whiskey and stay for the Geijer Glögg, but he most certainly would appreciate the ambient drinking environment of The Rookery.
Bushwick Mixer is a weekly column somewhere at the crossroads of pop culture and mixology in the bars of Bushwick. Hashtag your photos of Bushwick cocktails with #BushwickMixer and let us know why they should be tasted by the author of the column.
The Randy Lady is served at The Rookery, 425 Troutman Street for $13.