Although most of us are annoyed by the word “mixologist,” Alex Ott takes a special, personal offense to the term.
“When I started bartending there were only three mixologists on the planet — now everyone’s a mixologist,” says Ott, who does, for the record, consider himself one. “It’s kind of like saying my nephew plays with Legos, and now he’s an architect.”
If he sounds a little sure of himself, he’s earned it: After beginning his career behind the bar as a teenager in Germany and picking up a bachelor’s degree in organic chemistry, Ott went on to design cocktail menus at Paris’ storied Buddha Bar. By the time he was at New York’s Sushi Samba, he was so good with a muddle stick that he was cast as himself in “Sex in the City.”
Now, Ott’s sharing some of his trade secrets in “Dr. Cocktail,” his new book of recipes for “mood drinks” — meticulously designed concoctions that are heavy on the antioxidants and low on the hangovers.
“I can wake you up, I can make you fall asleep, I can make you fall in love — the cocktails that I make are all designed for a certain purpose, and most importantly the alcohol burn is nonexistent,” he says. “As soon as you feel the burn, it’s your tastebuds saying ‘OK, I’m gone, goodbye, go on without me.'”
Cocktail of the week
“This cocktail was designed in India. I use it to expel bad ghosts in the digestion and stimulate the appetite at the same time,” says Ott. “This is a perfect martini to pair with poultry and fish.”
What’s in it
3 ounces pear nectar
2 ounces Svedka Vodka
2 sage leaves
Dash of fresh lemon juice
How to make it
Place sage leaves in the bottom of a shaker glass and gently pound on them a few times with a muddle stick. Without your nose even being close to the glass you’ll detect the scent of sage. Add ice and all remaining ingredients to the glass and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass.
— Reprinted with permission from “Dr. Cocktail” by Alex Ott (Running Press).