Drink of the Week: Sly’s Old Man

Photo by Nik Blaskovich

We feel bad when we miss Sly’s annual celebration of Repeal Day. (It happens that we’re celebrating it our own way. ‘Nuff said.) So we rectified that before the end of the year by swinging by the venerable Carpinteria joint and pleading with Mandy Huffaker Chinn for a copy of their coveted secret cocktail list. This is the list that only true Repealers get to see, and we’re fortunate to be on it. Some of the drinks come from the history books, some are nicked from fellow mixologists around the country, and some are created behind the bar here. We like to keep it local, so that’s what we tried.

First up was a spin on the classic agua fresca, the Horchata. Instead, the H(orgeat)a uses Sobieski cinnamon vodka, Sly’s homemade orgeat syrup (they make a lot of it for mai tais), half ‘n half, and nutmeg on top. It matches the creamy and sweet goodness of the original, but the almond orgeat really stands out. The “Thursday” was named after two regulars who were looking for a “gluten free” cocktail, which restricts them to rum, really. But Ms. Chinn includes Aperol, Tuaca, and pineapple juice. The Aperol is there to stop things from becoming too sweet, and the juice creates a nice frothy head. But our favorite was the Old Man, which is perfect for “shouting at the kids on your lawn,” according to the list. It is a very mature and subtle mix of rye, applejack and green chartreuse, and the cocktail – from Mandy and her brother-in-law Jack – is supposed to elicits memories of Old Spice and wood. We didn’t feel too crotchety, but we loved it and think it’s the best way to start the New Year.

1 1/2 oz. Old Overholt Rye
3/4 oz. Laird’s Applejack
3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
Shake over ice and strain into coupe glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

686 Linden Ave., Carpinteria 684-6666

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Sly’s The Queens Cocktail


Manhattan has its cocktail, although it may be named after a bar in New York, not the borough. The Bronx has a cocktail, and its infamy is tied to Bill Wilson, whose Bronx binge led to alcoholism and much later Alcoholics Anonymous. And then there’s the Long Island Iced Tea, one of the stronger drinks out there. The Brooklyn cocktail exists, but is as rare as finding a cheap place to rent there, and is like a Manhattan except for Maraschino liqueur used instead of vermouth. However, Staten Island … sorry dudes, you get nothing.

Which leaves us with Queens, which is probably where your hip friend is living now after the big dreams of living in Manhattan fell apart and Williamsburg was too trendy. We learned all about the Queens cocktail when we stopped by Sly’s in Carpinteria the other day. It had been a hot one, and we’d been stuck in traffic coming up from Ventura. It was time for some libations, and the Queens was just what we wanted.

Related to the Bronx, it uses gin. Bartender Jack Chinn, with advice from mixologist and history buff Mandy Huffaker-Chinn, set about making us this drink, using Gordon’s gin, an equal mix of vermouths, and muddled pineapple. It’s the fruit that gives the cocktail its smooth mouthfeel, frothy head and bright color. It’s our Drink of the Week — and our second favorite borough!

1 (2-inch) chunk fresh pineapple
2 ounces Gordon’s gin
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce dry vermouth

Muddle pineapple in shaker. Add gin and vermouths, then ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry and an extra chunk of fresh pineapple.

Yield: 1 drink

686 Linden Ave., Carpinteria 684-6666 or www.slysonline.com