This drink starts with Old Overholt rye that's been infused with fresh medjool dates, which break down over the course of five days. "The rye ends up tasting like an Old Fashioned," said Jeff Lyon. The date-flavored rye is cut with George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey and mixed with Cardamaro (which "has some mellowing tones; it extends the drink" says Lyon), plus bittersweet Punt e Mes and Angostura bitters that have been infused with cinnamon.
Lyon confesses a love for anise-like flavors: "I love absinthe, aquavit, even Sambuca. That anise flavor is all over the menu." Here, absinthe is mixed into drink that Lyon says "is 75% Margarita, 25% other stuff."
"I've always found that absinthe and tequila are a natural pair," said Lyon. "There are these high tones in the tequila—citrus and pepper—the blend well and tame some of the sweeter notes of the absinthe." The absinthe (Lyon uses Kübler) and tequila (Pueblo Viejo) are mixed with lime and a poached Asian pear puree flavored with star anise. It's garnished with a fennel frond.
Lyon created this spin on a whiskey sour at Range, and it became a popular off-menu request. "I was doing research on old cocktail recipes, and many of them sounded vaguely threatening and mean," said Lyon,"even though they were refreshing or even sweet drinks." His vaguely dangerous-sounding cocktail starts with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, softened with Lillet Blanc and mixed with honey and lemon. The final touch: a quarter ounce of orange bitters. "This drink has different layers of orange," says Lyon, noting that he throws a chunk of orange (peel on) into the shaker, not muddling, but shaking a bit of the flavor into the drink.
In addition to a 'Jerk Jerky' flavored with Scotch Bonnet, cloves, and allspice, there's a Red Eye jerky made with coffee, dry mustard, and chilies, a candied beef jerky, and even a vegetable version, made with dehydrated trumpet mushrooms flavored with vadouvan. Getting the right texture on the vegetable version proves the most challenging, says chef Phil West. "We're trying to emulate the chew and texture," he says, "but it's not mock meat," he emphasizes. They've run through a batch of whole-carrot jerky and plan to make a cauliflower version soon.
This cocktail from the aperitif section of the menu is made with Bodegas Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana sherry, stirred with St. George pear eau de vie, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, and Bitter Truth celery bitters. "This drink almost has a salinity to it" thanks to the sherry, Jeff Lyon noted. "It's a super dry, very lean drink." The addition of the celery bitters "pushes it into savory," said Lyon, emphasizing that the pear eau de vie "has all these beautiful aromatics, but it's as dry as vodka—it's not a liqueur."
Ice chipped by vintage ice crushers cools this gin drink, made with Death's Door gin. "It's a stripped down, modern gin," notes Lyon, "with only three botanicals." The gin is mixed with lime and Yellow Chartreuse, plus a raw ginger syrup. "The fresh ginger has a lot of heat," says Lyon. "It works almost like a palate cleanser. When you have a drink with some sweetness to it, a little spice helps to balance it. Think of Thai food," he says. "You have sweet, spicy, herbal—it's a trifecta of goodness."