Every once in a while a hidden gem of a cocktail makes its way into a guide, but there’s rarely any information on who crafted it, or the inspiration behind it.
As it turns out there’s a great story behind this cocktail as told by its creator, Brian Miller. Here’s what he has to say, “It came about oh so many years ago. It was at Tales and I believe it was my first one. St Germain had just come out and I had been working with the brand. Rob (Cooper) had become a good friend of mine and he invited me to Tales to do some work with him. He had organized some sort of Iron Chef competition using St Germain and asked me to be a part of it. I was reluctant because I hate comps but when the boss asks you, you do what he says. Plus he said the winner would get a brand new car. Of course that sounded ridiculous but Rob is generous enough to do such a thing. I was young (yes, there was a point when I was actually young and not the middle-aged pirate you see now) and like everyone else, I loved Rittenhouse rye and old classic cocktails. So I did a simple riff on the Vieux Carré subbing St Germain for the Benedictine. I think I was more concerned with not embarrassing myself than actually winning. So when I won, I was shocked. I was thinking, what the hell am I gonna do with car in NYC? I could hardly afford rent let alone a place to keep a fucking car. Rob came up to me with a big grin and said, “Brian, let me take you to your new car.” We walked out in front of the Monteleone and parked between two cabs was the little Hoopty. We laughed and hugged each other. It was my first trophy in the cocktail world and I still treasure it to this day. I later on created another cocktail for St Germain called the Hoopty Cooler. A picture of the car is attached.”
This is a 21st century take on a classic for sure. Everything is quite balanced, lovely and pops on the tongue. The only change I would highly recommend, is to either serve this with one large cube of ice, or else serve it straight up in a large cocktail glass. Serious dilution happens when too much ice is left in the glass as I discovered. I took the simple step of straining the drink into a large coupe with a Hawthorne strainer and transferring the garnish.
1oz rye whiskey
1oz sweet vermouth
0.5oz elderflower liqueur
1 dash angostura bitters
1 dash peychaud’s bitters
Garnish: lemon twist
Stir with ice. Strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Add lemon twist.