There’s nothing as complex as simplicity. It’s a mantra that explains the enduring success of pop music, cheeseburgers, Martinis, and today’s cocktail — the Division Bell. Employing a short list of ingredients, this drink was created via the “Mr. Potato Head Method” — swapping out components of pre-existing recipes and tweaking the proportions accordingly. While it’s a fairly straightforward, seemingly easy practice, figuring out what works and what doesn’t is no walk in the park. Even more difficult — according to today’s guest — is figuring out a name for a new cocktail. After all, there’s a fine line between being clever and being cringey.

Joining host Tim McKirdy today on the “Cocktail College” podcast is New York-based bartender Phil Ward. Among the many individuals who ushered cocktails and bartending into the modern mainstream, Ward’s name rings out as loud as any in the industry. He’s headed some of the city’s most prestigious bar programs, like the Pegu Club and Death & Co., and created some of the most revered modern classic cocktails. Of those creations, though arguably nowhere near as recognized as it should be, is the Division Bell, a mezcal-based riff on the Last Word and the topic of today’s show.

Tune in to hear Tim and Phil Ward discuss agave spirits, Pink Floyd, Martinis, and more. It’s all right here on the “Cocktail College” podcast.

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Phil Ward’s Division Bell Recipe


  • 1 ½ ounces mezcal, such as Del Maguey Vida
  • ¾ ounce Aperol
  • ½ ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Garnish: grapefruit twist


  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a grapefruit twist (express and discard).