Today, we’re exploring the Rodney Dangerfield of cocktails. It gets no respect — no respect at all — but that’s no fault of its own. With ingredients that have drifted in and out of availability over the years, this drink has had a tough time climbing to prominence. But it’s 2023 now, and even though yellow Chartreuse is rather pricey these days, American bars are locked and loaded with all the right stuff, poised for the return of this elegant classic.
We’ve covered multiple cocktails named after cities and neighborhoods before, but this week marks the first drink named after a state. It’s the Alaska. And, while Alaska may not have become a state until 1959, this drink dates back as early as 1913. Plus, with a template similar to that of the Manhattan, it provides a great pipeline for any aged spirit enthusiast to meet their new favorite classic cocktail.
Over the years, the Alaska underwent a series of recipe tweaks, particularly in regard to the type of gin used. Thankfully, our guest today is a gin expert with over 150 bottles on his back bar, so he’s well equipped to give us a crash course on the juniper-forward spirit.
Today on the “Cocktail College” podcast, host Tim McKirdy is joined by Trey Sanford, bar manager of Anchorage’s South Restaurant + Coffeehouse. He’s here to break down the Alaska, an iconic mix of gin, yellow Chartreuse (if you can get your hands on it), and orange bitters. It’s a deep dive on gin botanicals. It’s a battle of the bitters. It’s Alaska’s namesake cocktail. And it’s comeback season, folks. Tune in for more.
Trey Sanford’s Alaska Recipe
- 2 ½ ounces Amalga gin
- ½ ounce yellow Chartreuse
- 2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters
- 3 drops saline solution (80:20 made with high-quality sea salt)
- Garnish: orange twist
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
- Stir until cold and strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
- Garnish with an orange twist.