Creating a cocktail that represents a person or character is an art. An imperfect art, but an art nonetheless. It’s a blend of understanding people and characters, and a confident knowledge of what makes a cocktail sing. Tommy Warren, the head bartender at Manhattan’s Bedford and Co. and the man behind the bar’s Writer’s Collection, know this blend all too well.
Warren’s Writer’s Collection of cocktails is based on famous authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway who visited the Bedford Hotel bar during their lives.
I caught up with Warren to learn how to create cocktails centered around a different set of characters who were never truly alive, but live on in the imagination of millions of viewers: characters from “Game of Thrones.” Warren gave me the following advice.
How to pick a base spirit
“Certain spirits and cordials have stereotypical attributes already: Tequila is considered wild, gin might be labeled as sophisticated etc. You start with the most pertinent and defining note of your character and use the rest of the ingredients to round out. The spirit is the main attraction and the ingredients are the ‘black keys of the piano’ to pepper in the rest.”
How to blend character traits and personality
“This comes down to knowing how spirits and mixers will blend. Above all else, the cocktail has to taste good. Like a personality, you need sweet, sour, bold or dominant followed by undertones and subtleties.”
The one thing to do
“Ultimately the drink, like any good character, has to be balanced. Even if a character is pure evil, they can use charm and wit to seduce and manipulate. Same goes for the cocktail!”
The one thing not to do
“I suppose limiting yourself to a one-note characteristic. If the drink is for a tough guy you don’t just slide a bottle of whiskey down the bar. You’d be surprised how many tough guys drink Moscow Mules…”
With Warren’s advice in mind, here are cocktails to represent Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Queen Cersei.
A man famous for his wine and his wit calls for a sharp wine cocktail. Cognac is a strong and contemplative base. Tawny Port is a reference to Tyrion’s wine that’s always in his hand and balances the drink out.
Combine ingredients over ice. Stir 30 seconds. Pour into a coupe glass and garnish with a cherry.
Jon Snow is relatively honorable, strong, and reliable. Start with a pure base of clear Reyka Icelandic vodka, muddle some cucumber, top with tonic, and garnish with mint. It’s a refreshingly cool drink you know you can count on.
2 ounces Reyka vodka
4 ounces tonic
Combine vodka, cucumber, and mint. Muddle. Add ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour over ice into a Collins glass, top with tonic, garnish with mint.
Cersei is a strong, powerful woman with a passion for drink — specifically wine. Start with gin, add her beloved wine, and a touch of elderflower for class.
Combine the gin, elderflower liqueur, and lemon over ice. Shake. Pour into a coupe glass. Top with Burgundy poured over a spoon to create a Burgundy wine float.