Every cocktail is a journey in a glass, even if sometimes those travels merely land you on your ass. But the best are more cosmopolitan—the Grand Prix from Dirty French on the Lower East Side, for example. The cocktail tracks the globe in four stages: Beginning in Japan, Thomas Waugh, bar director for Major Food Group, builds off of Nikka Coffey Grain whisky. Unlike many Japanese whiskies, which are akin to Scotch, the corn base here skews it toward a softer, fruited bourbon. That’s mixed with an equal pour of Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino, a Turin-style sweet vermouth that he infuses with dried coconut, which boosts the vanilla component and downplays some of the bitter finish. A few dashes of Trinidadian Angostura bitters add aromatics, while the secret ingredient, literally, comes in the ras el hanout. This North African mix typically contains 10 spices, including cumin, coriander, cardamom, and clove. “It doesn’t taste like any one of the ingredients,” says Waugh. “It blends into a flavor that you’ve never tasted before.”
1.5 OZ. NIKKA COFFEY GRAIN WHISKY 1.5 OZ. COCONUT- INFUSED VERMOUTH 1 TSP. RAS EL HANOUT SYRUP 1 DASH ANGOSTURA BITTERS
BUILD AND STIR WITH ICE IN A MIXING GLASS. STRAIN INTO A COCKTAIL GLASS. GARNISH WITH A PIECE OF FRESH COCONUT.
Text by Luke O’Neil