If you’ve never heard of an Alligator Arms, don’t be alarmed. This is an original cocktail from Guest Bartender Claire Sprouse. Claire owns Hunky Dory, a restaurant in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn that transitioned to a gratuity-free model in the middle of the current pandemic, and she’s an accomplished bartender who spends a lot of time thinking about sustainability. To hear some of her thoughts on food waste, responsible sourcing, and running a bar program during a pandemic, check out this interview from our Setting The Bar series.
As for her Alligator Arms, it’s a relatively low-ABV cocktail, and it’s perfect for enjoying alongside food. It’s also refreshing and relatively simple, and once you’re done shaking this drink, you don’t even have to strain it. You just dump the entire contents of your shaker into a highball. Why? Because an Alligator Arms can withstand a little extra dilution, and, as Claire points out, reusing the ice in your shaker is a great way to preserve water.
Makes 1 Alligator Arms
- 3 ounces dry vermouth
- 1 ounce celery syrup
- .5 ounce lemon juice
- 1 barspoon of absinthe
For The Celery Syrup:
- 1 cup celery juice
- 1 cup white sugar
Step One: Glassware Prep
Before we get started, we’re going to add half a salt rim to our highball. So go ahead and pour a thin layer of salt onto a saucer, wet the rim of your glass with a lemon wedge, and dip the rim into the salt.
Step Two: Celery Syrup
Next, we need to make some celery syrup. In order to do so, you’ll need a cup of celery juice. A juicer is obviously ideal for this, but if you don’t have one, just blend your celery and strain it. Next, stir one cup of white sugar into your celery juice. Once the sugar is dissolved, this syrup is good to go into your cocktail, and you can store it in the fridge for up to one week. Add 1 ounce celery syrup to your shaker.
Step Three: Lemon Juice
To round things out and give this cocktail a little zip, we’ll add a touch of tart citrus. Find a lemon, juice it, and put .5 ounce lemon juice in your shaker.
Step Four: Absinthe
Yes, we’re adding absinthe to this cocktail, and no, it won’t make you hallucinate. (Moulin Rouge lied to you.) A little bit of absinthe goes a long way in terms of flavor, so add one barspoon’s worth to your shaker. (Or, if you don’t own a barspoon, do half a teaspoon instead.)
Step Five: Dry Vermouth
The dry vermouth you choose for this cocktail isn’t of great consequence, although it is important that you use fresh vermouth. In other words, not something you opened several years ago and left out on your bar cart. (Vermouth should be refrigerated, and it should only be kept for three months after opening.) Put 3 ounces dry vermouth into your cocktail shaker.
Step Six: Shake
Add five or six ice cubes to your cocktail shaker, and shake somewhat vigorously for 15 seconds. We say “somewhat” because you’re going to use the ice that you have in your shaker, and you don’t want all of it turning into pebbles. Once you’re finished, pour the contents of your shaker (ice and all) into your pre-salted highball. Take a sip, and enjoy the taste of vermouth, celery, and sustainable cocktail practices.