When I was in Pittsburgh for the Three Day Blow conference, one of the other drinks writers I met was journalist Cody McDevitt who, with Pittsburgh bartender Sean Enright, was working on a book chronicling the history of drinking in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Drinks is now published, and Cody was kind enough to send us a copy.
Pittsburgh is known as a shot-and-beer town, and I won’t kid you, there are lots of shots and beers in this book. But there’s more than that too. One of my favorite tidbits from the book is that the term ‘Speakeasy’ may have been coined in western Pennsylvania, long before Prohibition; Pittsburgh had the dubious benefit of dealing with highly restrictive local liquor laws ahead of federal Prohibition.
The book traces the ins and outs of Pittsburgh bar life from 1900 to the present, giving us the hot bars and neighborhoods era by era. It also shares a good number of Pittsburgh original recipes from the recent cocktail renaissance. Here’s our favorite.
The PiXburgh Kid Cocktail Recipe
created by Timothy Garso of Smallman Galley
- 1 oz Pedro Ximenez (aka PX) sherry–Garso calls for Lustau, which is what we also use
- 1 oz rum–Garso uses Stonewall, a local Pennsylvania maker. We couldn’t get a hold of it, but we do have Pittsburgh distiller Wigle’s honey-based alternative to rum, Landlocked. We used that and enjoyed that extra honey smack in the drink, though it’s probably not what Garso had in mind. Something like Old Ipswich Tavern Style would do the trick here well.
- 3/4 oz vermouth bianco–Garso uses Atxa, a Spanish Basque maker. Since we happen to have lots of Catalan vermouth blanco right now from Yzaguirre, we used that instead.
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- lemon twist, for garnish
- Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker.
- Add ice to the level of the liquid.
- Shake for about 20 seconds.
- Strain into a coupe glass.