Wine & Spirits: Cheers to Dad

by WL Author

Surprise dad this weekend with some spirited finds to help him get his drink on.

By Kelly A. Magyarics


Martini Gran Lusso is great in a riff on the Martinez. Photo courtesy of Martini.

Martini Gran Lusso is great in a riff on the Martinez. (Photo courtesy of Martini)

Despite all the proclamations out there that dad doesn’t need another tie (and he doesn’t, by the way), the ads this week are nonetheless filled with photos of neck attire adorned with stripes, plaids, checks and embroidered shapes. Avoid the temptation. What dad wants this Sunday is a little bit of relaxation (maybe on that porch swing or hammock) with a drink in hand. Here are some ways to help him get there.


Martini Gran Lusso

The iconic Italian brand’s latest release is Martini Gran Lusso, a super-premium Vermouth released in honor of the company’s 150th anniversary. Gran Lusso is the result of a collaboration between Martini Master Herbalist Ivano Tonutti and Master Blender Giuseppe Musso (wouldn’t you just love to have either of those jobs?) It was inspired by the original Vermouth Lusso, whose recipe dates back to 1871 and was recently discovered in the company archives. Barbera grapes from Santo Stefano Belbo winery give it its gorgeous crimson hue and velvety texture, while Trebbiano grapes from neighboring Emilia-Romagna lend a subtle and delicate, aromatic character. Distillers recreated “Extract 94,” which also originates from a recipe found in the archives, left it to mature for eight years and used all of it for this limited production — 150,000 bottles are available worldwide. Martini Gran Lusso is available in D.C. at Ace Beverage, with a suggested retail price of $30. Try it in a Manhattan or in Martini’s riff on a Martinez:

Gran Lusso Martinez
Courtesy of Martini
1 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 oz. Martini Gran Lusso
1 dash Maraschino liqueur
1 dash Angostura bitters
Lemon peel or twist, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail glass. Add ice, and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon peel or twist.


Langdon Wood Barrel Aged Maple Syrup

Start off Father’s Day by serving dad French toast with this Grade A Pennsylvania maple syrup from Art Drauglis that’s aged in Catoctin Creek’s used rye (breakfast never tasted so good.) Later, use it to make him The Colonel Langdon cocktail. You can purchase the syrup online at or at Catoctin Creek’s Distillery.

The Colonel Langdon
Courtesy of Catoctin Creek Distilling

1 oz. Catoctin Creek Organic Mosby’s Spirit
½ to ¾ oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. Langdon Wood Barrel Aged Maple Syrup
3 oz. Seltzer
Lemon peel, for garnish

Add the Mosby’s Spirit, lemon juice and syrup to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake until chilled. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Top with seltzer, and garnish with a lemon peel.


The Colonel Langdon uses barrel aged maple syrup and Catoctin Creek's Mosby's Spirit. Photo courtesy of Catoctin Creek.

The Colonel Langdon uses barrel-aged maple syrup and Catoctin Creek’s Mosby’s Spirit. (Photo courtesy of Catoctin Creek)

Classes at The Rye Bar, Capella Hotel Georgetown

If pops is a budding mixologist, sign him up for Rye Bar’s new Cocktail Series, taught by resident bartender Angel Cervantes. Guests nosh on canapés and small bites while Cervantes showcases and serves five cocktails. After each two-hour class, guests get to indulge in a three-course meal with cocktail pairings. They also get to take home a Rye Bar-embroidered Lewis bag. Upcoming dates are July 19, August 16 and September 20 — all Saturdays. Classes begin at 6 p.m. and cost $150, excluding gratuity. Sign up by calling 202-617-2424 or visiting the website.

In the meantime, mix up one of Rye Bar’s new summer cocktails:

Imperfect Martini
Courtesy of Angel Cervantes, The Rye Bar, Washington, D.C.

1 oz. Half Moon Gin
1 oz. Templeton Rye
¼ oz. Cynar liqueur
½ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Simple syrup
Lemon twist, for garnish

Add all except garnish to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with the lemon peel.


The Imperfect Martini is one of The Rye Bar's new cocktails. Photo courtesy of The Rye Bar.

The Imperfect Martini is one of The Rye Bar’s new cocktails. (Photo courtesy of The Rye Bar)

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

Made with twice as much rye as many other Bourbons on the market, Basil Hayden’s has a nice spicy kick (it’s fabulous as a rye substitute in a Sazerac). Buy a bottle of this small batch spirit for dad, and then mix up a batch of this cocktail whose spiciness is ramped up by ginger beer. Rosemary lends a clean herbal aroma.

Basil Hayden’s Dad’s Day Off
Courtesy of Zachary Brian Taylor, San Francisco, California

1 ½ oz. Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
¾ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Brown sugar syrup (see recipe)
1 sprig Rosemary
Ginger beer

Add the Bourbon, lemon juice and brown sugar syrup to a cocktail shaker. Remove the rosemary needles from the bottom three-fourths of the sprig and add them to the shaker. Add ice, and shake until chilled. Double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer, and garnish with the remaining rosemary sprig.

For the brown sugar syrup:
Combine equal parts water and brown sugar in a saucepan. Heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Cool, pour into a container and store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.


Dad's Day Off gets a nice kick from Bourbon and ginger beer. Photo courtesy of Basil Hayden's.

Dad’s Day Off gets a nice kick from Bourbon and ginger beer. (Photo courtesy of Basil Hayden’s)

Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.


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