The modern cocktail was in need of a hard reset, and this drink, the gold pal, definitively achieves that. It’s simple yet sophisticated, unpretentious but not combatively so (like, say, an artisanal Long Island iced tea). The ingredients are excellent, but they are few. It comes courtesy of Jim Meehan, world-class bartender and one of the founders of New York’s seminal neo-speakeasy PDT, and is a twist on the classic old pal. All three spirits in this version are gold hued, hence the name. The bright, melony cucumber garnish contrasts with the ingredients’ savory notes. The resulting cocktail is balanced and surprising and makes sense on its own without slavishly referencing the 1930s or 1980s. As such, it’s very right now. The formula is easy enough to repeat: an excellent spirit, a good vermouth and a quality aperitif, stirred over ice and served with an interesting garnish.
Deploy with gusto in other drinks such as the old pal (2 oz. rye, ¾ oz. dry vermouth, ¾ oz. Campari), the bijou (1 oz. each gin, sweet vermouth and green Chartreuse) and the presidente (2 oz. rum, 1 oz. blanc vermouth, ¾ oz. curaçao).
• 2 oz. Siete Leguas reposado tequila
• ¾ oz. Noilly Prat Ambré vermouth
• ¼ oz. Bénédictine
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass filled with one large ice cube. Garnish with a cucumber spear.