Drink of the Week: The Lady Liberty Cocktail


Why did an anonymous New York mixologist call our latest drink the Lady Liberty Cocktail? Maybe July 4th, 2014 was coming up and they wanted an appropriately named cocktail. Or, maybe they wanted to salute the stunning Hudson River sculpture – a symbol of everything good and fragile about our nation. In any case, it’s a strong choice if you’re drinking to a freer future.

The Lady Liberty Cocktail
2 ounces white rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce orgeat (almond syrup)
¼ ounce Green Charteuse
¼ ounce maraschino
¼ teaspoon (dash) absinthe or other strong anise liqueur

The Lady Liberty is, if nothing else, a well-balanced summer refresher. However, I found that cutting the almond sweetener from the one ounce in the Spruce Eats post I’m stealing to three-fourths of an ounce improved the drink immeasurably. The syrup’s sweetness needed to get out of the way. The diversity of flavors here must be celebrated! If I’d had more time, I might have tried it with only half an ounce of orgeat.

Most every version of Lady Liberty was a treat. It’s a sort of stripped-down not-tiki beverage that isn’t too eager to please and therefore pleases all the more. Using just a little bit of 110-proof Green Chartreuse and the rich bittersweet cherry flavor of maraschino nicely blends confectionary, fruity, and herbal flavors. The strong anis bite of absinthe plays counterpoint.

As usual, using better/pricier ingredients made for an especially tasty cocktail for the grownups. Brugal Extra Dry rum with Luxardo maraschino and a well-regarded absinthe brand was a real mouthful of flavor. My Flor de Caña Lady Liberty was slightly sweeter but equally lovely. Even the version I made using plain old Bacardi white rum, value-priced Lazzaroni maraschino, and an insanely cheap brand of bright green absinthe had a lot of easygoing charm. Green Chartreuse is good insurance against boredom.

I’ll let Emma Lazarus, author of the sonnet that graces the Statue of Liberty have the last word. Despite what you may have heard from rightwingers, she was not a socialist but followed an economic philosophy that I guess maybe gave us property taxes. She was also guilty of the crime of being a Jewish activist against oppression.

These are perilous and exciting times. Let’s not waste them – if we work hard enough, something good may grow out of all this.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”


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