When it comes to cocktails, I see major chain restaurants mixed drinks (Chili’s, TGIFriday’s, etc.) as the liquor equivalent of department stores around this time of year. We’ve just past Thanksgiving and are entering the Holiday season, but in department stores the lights, ornaments and holiday baubles have been on the shelves since before Halloween. The stores choose to focus on the “big” Holiday rather than allowing customers to enjoy whatever holiday is coming up. It doesn’t seem like they can enjoy what is right in front of them.
So how does this relate to chain restaurant cocktails? Their cocktails, which can be tasty, are made quickly and seem to be created in order to please a crowd in a short amount of time. A majority of the time, bottled sour mixes, juices and syrups are used instead of natural ingredients. Rather than creating something that is both fresh and complex, cocktails are often artificial and sweet so that the customer can easily knock-back the overly fruity beverage and order another. Quite frankly, I haven’t been to a chain restaurant where I have found a cocktail that I would want to order again. Because of this, I rarely order cocktails at chain restaurants.
So why do I mention this? It has to do with the cocktail featured in today’s post. I chose this particular cocktail for two reasons. First, this cocktail is from a chain restaurant. The cocktail was a signature drink at the Brown Derby in Los Angeles circa 1926. Most people do not realize this, but the Brown Derby was a chain (albeit not to the same level as a Chili’s or a TGIFridays) and its signature drink was served in all the locations. Additionally, opposite of my earlier contention, this is a drink from a chain restaurant that is well crafted using fresh ingredients that has stood the test of time. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for this cocktail because it gives hope that chain restaurants can create great cocktails.
Shake all ingredients in an iced shaker and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
Oh, and the other reason I chose this cocktail? You may have noticed a lack of cocktail posts recently. That’s because in early November I was married to a wonderful woman and took some time for my own honeymoon and spending some time with my new family over Thanksgiving. So I chose this cocktail because I’m thankful for my new wife and new family.