We could all use something tall and cool heading into the summer season. And Virginia's top mixologists are only too happy to oblige. For stylish and delicious cocktails made in true Virginia fashion, try these signature quaffs from bars and restaurants around the state.
Two Up, Two Down
Thomas Leggett, The Roosevelt, Richmond, TheRooseveltRVA.com
Named for the popular state hand symbol: two fingers up + two fingers down = VA.
1 ½ ounces Laird's apple brandy
½ ounces Continental gin
½ ounces Broadbent rainwater madeira
½ ounces coffee syrup (see below)
½ ounces fresh lime juice
dash angostura bitters
orange peel to garnish
Combine all with ice. Shake and strain into ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel.
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup sugar
Stir together coffee and sugar until combined.
Deanna Meade and Thomas Burke, Haywood's at The Georges, Lexington, TheGeorges.com/Haywoods/
2 ounces Lexington Bourbon
½ ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1 ounce simple syrup
1 dash orange bitters
ginger brew, your choice of brand, to fill
Build in a highball glass packed with ice. Garnish with lemon peel.
I Am Virginia
Todd Thrasher of Bar PX, Alexandria, BarPX.com
Todd Thrasher’s riff on the Old Fashioned plays homage to his home state with the Virginia figs and local rye.
¾ ounces fig simple syrup (see below)
2 ounces Catoctin Creek round stone rye
liberal dash of orange bitters
orange peel to garnish.
Combine fig simple syrup, bitters and rye in a mixing glass, stir and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with orange peel.
Fig simple syrup:
1 quart sugar
1 quart water
1 quart dried Virginia figs
Heat water over medium heat, add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add figs, reduce heat to a low simmer for 20 minutes and remove from heat. Let cool. Strain through a fine chinois. Refrigerate.
The Tides Inn, Irvington, TidesInn.com
This refreshing, slightly tart summer drink, served in a tall glass, proves a relaxing way to beat the heat.
1 part vodka
1 part limoncello
½ fresh lemon, squeezed
Pour all ingredients into a tall glass over ice.
Top with ginger ale and add lemon wheels and fresh lemon balm for garnish.
Honeysuckle Lavender Martini
Boar’s Head Inn, Charlottesville, BoarsHeadInn.com
This martini marries light and sweet floral flavors with the acidity of lime for a tasty cocktail that looks as bright as it tastes.
3 ounces Cathead honeysuckle vodka
1 ½ ounces lavender water (see below)
2 squeezes of lime
club soda to fill remainder of glass
Shake all ingredients and serve.
Using roughly the same proportions you would to make tea, soak a few sprigs of dried lavender in hot water overnight (or boiling water and let steep); then strain.
½ ounce Champagne
½ ounce triple sec
¾ ounce lime juice
3 ounces Van Gogh melon vodka
2 ounces honeydew or cantaloupe, puréed
Mix all in a shaker with ice, then serve in a martini glass. Garnish with melon balls of your choice.
The Blue Puppy
Hunter Johnson, Lucky, Roanoke, EatAtLucky.com
Inspired by the phrase, “A very blue puppy cries”—Appalachian Valley, Blue Ridge Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plain.
1½ ounces Catoctin Creek Watershed gin
1½ ounces honeysuckle, blueberry, allspice, hibiscus and sugar tincture
¾ ounces Dolin Vermouth Blanc
2 shakes Angostura orange bitters
1 chocolate mint to garnish
Combine gin, tincture, vermouth and bitters in an ice-filled Boston Shaker. Shake vigorously and serve in a chilled champagne coupe. Garnish with a leaf of mint.