Tiny Test Kitchen: We Try Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails

10/09/2014 at 02:14 PM ET

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

With this post, we’re happy to introduce a new column at PEOPLE.com: the Tiny Test Kitchen. We see a lot of beautiful, helpful and inspiring cookbooks come across our desks every week — and we often test recipes featured in those books. Here, we can share those cooking “experiments” with you. Why Tiny Test Kitchen? Because we’ll be whipping up these recipes in our own (very tiny) New York City kitchens to show you just how easy or difficult, tasty or terrible the recipes turn out.

To kick things off, I whipped up a few cocktails from the new Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails from the New York City bar of the same name. Whether shaken or stirred the guys (and gals) from Death & Co. make a mean cocktail.

 

The book includes more than 500 cocktail recipes, along with recommendations about technique, tools, and stocking a home bar. One of my favorite parts was the fact that they highlighted their regular customers (and their signature drinks) in the book. Not that I need another reason to become a regular there, but I wouldn’t say no to having my favorite cocktail in their next book.

I enlisted a couple of friends, and we each chose a cocktail to try. We looked for classics that didn’t require a lot of additional ingredients. First up: The Boulevardier!

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

I’ve never been much of a Campari fan. (Yes, I know that is an unpopular opinion right now.) But I love a Boulevardier.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

There’s something about the combination of bourbon and sweet vermouth that cuts the bitterness of the Campari, making it my kind of drink. This one is a classic, and the Death & Co. recipe doesn’t disappoint.

Death & Co Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

Boulevardier

1½ ounces Elijah Craig 12-year bourbon
¾ ounce house sweet vermouth
¾ ounce Campari
1 lemon twist, for garnish

1. Stir all the ingredients over ice, then strain into a coupe. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

Next up, another classic — The Fitzgerald. My two cocktail tasters agreed, that this was by far our favorite. In fact, it might become the new signature cocktail at my apartment.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

Given that most of the ingredients were clear or pale yellow (the lemon juice), it was kind of a surprise to see just how much color came from the two dashes of Angostura bitters. You probably have all the ingredients for this one at home. Shake it up tonight — you won’t regret it.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

Fitzgerald

2 ounces Beefeater London Dry Gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 lemon wedge, for garnish

1. Shake all the ingredients with ice then strain into a double rocks glass. Garnish with the lemon wedge.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

The final cocktail we tried is a Death & Co. original. It’s a take on a margarita but it uses agave syrup instead of simple syrup and has orange marmalade mixed in, which is why you definitely have to shake it.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

I can imagine adding a little bit of spice to this cocktail as well. Maybe a homemade spicy marmalade to give it a little heat? It was such a fresh take on the margarita.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

Flor De Jalisco

In the 1980s, Julio Bermejo, an owner of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, popularized a margarita sweetened with agave syrup. We’ve used his spec for some fun spin-offs, including this version with lemon juice and orange marmalade.

2 ounces Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila
¾ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce agave nectar
1 tsp. orange marmalade

1. Shake all the ingredients with ice, then strain them into a coupe. No garnish.

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
Kristin Appenbrink

We definitely chose some of the simplest cocktails from the book. If you want to go all out, there are plenty with lots of ingredients to make you feel like a true mix master. But there are also tons of simple drinks that you can master and add to your repertoire.

—Kristin Appenbrink

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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