When you ask Eric Bechard, owner and bartender of Albatross and Co., for something new to drink, he will pause and think on it. The man has a veritable canon of spirits and liqueurs at his disposal, amassed through countless hours of research and outreach.
This drink, the Pine Derby, is a one-off. It will never appear on the menu or as a special, but if you ask nice, I would be surprised if Albatross and Co. wouldn’t fix one up for you.
This drink has all of the notes of a summer Hefeweizen, packed with the punch of spirits. Each of these spirits and liqueurs are a pleasure to ingest on its own but find new meaning when concocted.
I was unfamiliar with the Zirbenz, which is a Stone Pine liqueur traditional to the Swiss Alps. Bechard came across this liqueur about a decade ago in a conversation with a bartender friend. Made from the boughs, the Zirbenz adds a hoppy note to the citrus-forward Old Tom.
This is heightened by the addition of the orange bitters and don’t be shy with the lemon rind. Bechard skins a hefty three-inch graft of zest off the fruit with a fairly big knife. He dusts the essence of the rind into the drink before submerging the rest of it.
The overall result is something that goes down easy and feels incredibly seasonal as the sun finally begins to warm those Doug firs and spike the air with their scent.
1 ounce Ransom Old Tom Gin*
1 ounce Zirbenz**
1 ounce Carpano Bianco***
2 dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail glass, stir, and garnish with hefty slice of lemon peel.
*Ransom Old Tom Gin is an Oregon-produced spirit that is a throwback to a colorful, barrel-aged style of gin made popular in the 19th century.
**Zirbenz, the Alps’ Stone Pine liqueur, is available for purchase from the Warrenton Liquor Store, where Albatross and Co. source all of their booze.
***Carpano Bianco is a dry, white vermouth. Most white vermouths are sweet.
—Recipe courtesy of Eric Bechard, bartender and owner of Albatross and Co., Astoria