The Sawyer. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

The Sawyer. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Casting about for a cocktail high in bitters to make use of some of my own personal blend, and one with gin, because that’s what the evening wanted, I happened on this distinctive cocktail, so high in bitters it can clearly fill in for a post-prandial digestif. It was created by Don Lee several years ago at Ssäm Bar in NYC, inspired by Chef Wylie Dufresne, and named for that chef’s daughter. Served to the writer Brad Parsons, it wound up in Parsons’s bitters book.

I love bitters for the complexity they bring to a drink, this one very much in the sour category with its dose of fresh lime juice. It’s become one of my favorite cocktails. If you don’t have citrus bitters (or your own bitters), use what’s on hand. This can be mixed and strained into a chilled coupe, but I like it over rocks. It’s powerful enough to stand up to the steady dilution (if you don’t forget where you set it down, as I did last night in between computer, shooting the shot, and cooking dinner).

The Sawyer

  • 2 ounces gin (60 grams)
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice (15 grams)
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (15 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon homemade or other bitters (5 to 7 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon citrus bitters (5 to 7 grams)
  • lime wedge
  1. Combine all in a lowball glass and fill with ice, garnish with lime.

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

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11 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: The Sawyer”

  • Dean

    This looks like my kind of cocktail. I can’t wait to get home from work.

  • Jan

    I am just a couple islands away from the home of Angostura and that is the only bitters available to me. I have never used bitters before, so if I want to experiment with one, would you recommend I start with traditional or citrus bitters?
    Happy weekend from a Dark and Stormy Grenada! :*}

  • allen

    Mr. Parsons book has a great cocktail with Fernet Branca, Mexican Coke and lemon juice.
    Love that book, wish we could come up with the recipe for Fernet Branca.

  • Slacker

    Tasty… Just whipped one up with Angostura, Regan’s Orange, and Sapphire. Doesn’t look anything like Ruhlman’s given the darkness of the
    angostura, but I dig it.

  • T Leo

    Looks very similar to the Fitzgerald, one of my favorites. can’t wait to try it

  • AmandaK

    Your posts about bitters finally inspired me to buy the Bitters book (through your website, of course). Keep ‘em coming! :)

  • Dee

    I like a simple gin and bitters – never mind the sweet stuff. Just tried rhubarb bitters – fantastic – and the cocktail is even better with a bit of orange bitters alongside the rhubarb. I use a healthy amount of bitters to gin and drink it on the rocks.