Since its debut in Station North earlier this year, Colette has become known not only for its fancy French fare, but also for its bar program, which showcases creative concoctions alongside pre-Prohibition classics.
“There are definitely those cocktails that never go out of style, and one of the things that I really enjoy about classic cocktails is that they go back to the basics,” says Colette’s bar manager Crystal Wack. “It’s great to have people come in and see things they’ve never tried, but also recognize the names of certain drinks.”
In celebration of the horse-racing season, Wack has added a slew of traditional sips—including The Mint Julep, The Preakness, The Black Eyed Susan, and The Belmont Breeze—to the bistro’s bar menu, as well as an original drink that she’s created in honor of the races.
The “Sir Barton,” named after the first horse to ever win the Triple Crown in 1919, is Wack’s take on the classic Southside, a citrusy summertime cocktail with Prohibition roots that gained popularity among the hunt club crowd in Maryland. Wack’s rendition combines Baltimore Whiskey Company’s Shot Tower gin, lime juice, mint leaves, and cucumber bitters.
“Mine is a little bit of a variation of both the original Southside and the Baltimore version,” she says. “I wanted to keep it light and refreshing for spring and summertime with the gin and the mint, and the freshness of the cucumber bitters mixes with that really well.”
The entire race-inspired drink menu will be offered at Colette throughout the month of May, but if you want to serve the Sir Barton at your own Preakness party, here is the recipe:
1 1/2-oz. Shot Tower Gin
1/2-oz. clarified lime juice
1/2-oz. simple syrup
5 mint leaves
1 dash cucumber bitters
In a shaker, add all ingredients. Shake and double strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with additional mint.