“We take our drinks seriously,” says BarMagic of Las Vegas’ Tobin Ellis, “but never drinking. It should be fun.” The beverage consultant had to strike a very fine balance when creating the cocktail menu for Drive This! Entertainment’s newest bar and restaurant concept. The company’s partnership with classic rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd required a sort of finesse at which Ellis excels: “Bring the concept to life, make the owners money and put smiles on people’s faces.”
Here, Ellis established a program that uses fresh ingredients, employs both new and venerable spirits, and which nods to Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer’s down-home no-nonsense feel. Like the band’s third album, Nuthin’ Fancy, this is a place for mixology but without pretention or intimidation.
Double-Wide Baconator, $10
A meatier take on a Manhattan-like cocktail Ellis created in 2010 for his traveling speakeasy party Social Mixology (SocialMixologyVegas.com), the Double-Wide Baconator is a savory sipper for cocktail geeks as well as for meat and/or whiskey lovers. Putting the mix in mixology, Ellis has the utmost respect for the classics, but is also unafraid to roll up his sleeves, take one apart and put it back together to create something entirely original.
In a rocks glass, build over one large ice cube: 1½ ounces bacon-washed Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper (4 parts SoCo to 1 part bacon fat), 1 ounce Lillet Rouge, ½ ounce Maraschino and three dashes Angostura bitters.
Honey Badger, $10
Intimidated by mixology? Don’t be! Neither is the honey badger. Honey badger doesn’t care. He’s just craaazy. It really doesn’t give a—OK, by now you must have seen the viral YouTube video The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger, featuring the wily, fearless honey badger as narrated by “Randall.” When Ellis needed a cheeky recipe for an episode of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue that would be fast and simple to execute and that would sell in any venue in any market, he knew 35,767,820 viewers can’t be wrong—the Honey Badger is the No. 1 selling cocktail on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s menu.
In a mixing glass, combine ¾ ounce fresh lemon sour, 1½ ounces Simply Apple apple cider, ¾ ounce Amaretto DiSaronno, 1½ ounces Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and 2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters. Shake with ice and strain over fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a swath of lemon peel and freshly grated cinnamon.