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As serious cocktail kingdoms become common around town, who among us doesn’t feel a tinge of pressure to measure up? A Sazerac will get you through, but to knock it out of the park consider the Brandy Crusta.
Its pedigree is flawless: birthed before the Civil War, it’s name-checked in both Jerry Thomas’s Bon Vivant’s Companion and Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book (the equivalent of making both the Old and New Testaments).
More important: it’s tasty, evoking its descendant, the Sidecar. Originally, cognac was used, but it’s a bit pricey for drinks these days and proper orange curaçao is murder to find here. The garnish, however, is not to be messed with-the circle of lemon is this drink’s calling card and will mark you from across the room as a person of exceptional taste.
2 oz. brandy (Torres works)1 tsp. orange curaçao(Grand Marnier or even Cointreau will do)1 tsp. fresh lemon juice 1 tsp. simple syrup 2 dashes Bittered Sling Plum and Rootbeer Bitters1 lemon peel, 3 cm by 10 cm
Place brandy, liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters in cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a wine or cordial glass; arrange lemon peel into a circle and place on top.