Here's a tasty tipple with which to toast an unusual box. The drink can be found in Beta Cocktails, the slim collection of creative cocktails edited by Maks Pazuniak and Kirk Estopinal which is a quiet underground resource full of incredible drinks by well-known bartenders. I’ve featured a few gems from this book before, and it never fails to impress. The drinks are mostly strong, often bitter, using unusual spirits – not necessarily for the faint of heart but ideal for those who are open to new experiences.

This is an original one from Maks Pazuniak, one of the driving forces behind the entire collection, who is himself a well-known bartender from New Orleans. Pazuniak riffs on a true New Orleans classic, the La Louisiane, which is mentioned in Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em by Stanley Clisby Arthur, 1937. That original version calls for equal parts rye, sweet vermouth and Benedictine, the herbal honeyed liqueur. The sweet elements overwhelm the rye whiskey and it is a bit out of proportion to modern tastes, but a classic is a classic nonetheless. Jim Meehan from the famed PDT bar in New York City updated the classic by adjusting the ratios and adding some absinthe and bitters to the mix. In this version by Pazuniak, the original recipe seems far away, and you wouldn’t be blamed for missing the reference entirely, which is also what makes it so brilliant. In lieu of vermouth, there is an amaro, instead of the Benedictine he introduces an apricot liqueur, and he adds a touch of apple brandy to the rye base. Finally there is a whopping dose of bitters rather than the typical few dashes. Rather than absinthe, he uses a Campari rinse. Mixing it all together creates an amazing experience of flavor that just might put you at a loss for words, temporarily. Use it wisely. Cheers!


A Moment of Silence by Maks Pazuniak

1 ½ oz rye whiskey

1 oz apricot liqueur, preferably Marie Brizard Apry

½ oz Amaro Averna

½ oz Angostura bitters

¼ oz apple brandy, preferably Laird's Bonded

Campari, for rinse

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a Campari rinsed glass. Orange twist garnish.


To learn about the Beaulid Box see:

Boxes and Booze: Wrapped with a Beau