Raising the Bar: Sam Ross

For fans of New York’s cocktail culture, 134 Eldridge Street is hallowed ground. It was here, back in 2000, that Sasha Petraske’s Milk & Honey first introduced many of us to egg whites, honey syrup, jumbo ice and the modern-day speakeasy. And for the last seven years, the charming and talented Australian bartender Sam Ross has been running the watering hole.

He cut his teeth in Melbourne’s seminal cocktail bar Ginger, which he opened with his mother and sister. After three years, he came to New York and joined Petraske’s burgeoning empire, helping to start Little Branch and the East Side Company Bar. At the same time, he was pulling shifts at Audrey Saunders’ legendary establishment Pegu Club as well.

Even after moving over to Milk & Honey, Ross managed to create drinks programs at Comme Ça in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, while also assisting with the launch of Noble Experiment in San Diego. And his efforts have been recognized with a number of Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award nominations and the 2011 prize for American Bartender of the Year.

Ross commands respect for his mastery of and commitment to classic recipes. Ask him to make you a drink and you’re likely to get a Manhattan, Negroni or Daiquiri—quite possibly the best you’ve ever tasted. “You’ve got nowhere to hide when it comes to classic cocktails,” he says. “With three-ingredient drinks, it is glaringly apparent if the drink wasn’t executed properly.”

With Milk & Honey preparing to move uptown to 23rd Street by year’s end, 134 Eldridge will be remodeled by Ross and business partner Michael McIlroy, expanding the notoriously tiny space to accommodate two bartenders. Though the name will change to Attaboy, the unwritten menu and devotion to standards will remain.

“We’ve been refining and shaping these drinks together for eight years, and this place means a lot to a lot of people,” Ross says. “Classic cocktails is our bag.”

Penicillin

Contributed by Sam Ross
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 oz Blended Scotch whisky
  • .75 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • .75 oz Honey-Ginger Syrup*
  • 1 dash Islay Scotch whisky
  • Glass: Rocks
  • Garnish: Candied ginger

PREPARATION:
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.

 

*Honey-Ginger Syrup
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1.5 oz Honey
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • .5 oz Water
  • 1 large piece Fresh ginger

PREPARATION:
Stir together the honey, sugar and water in a small bowl. Run the ginger through a juicer or grate finely and squeeze in a piece of cheesecloth to separate the juice. Add 1.5 ounces of ginger juice and stir until the sugar and honey dissolve. (If necessary, heat the mixture for a few seconds in the microwave to help the sugar dissolve.)

Jeffery Lindenmuth is an accomplished freelance writer who lives in Pennsylvania.

More Great Food & Drink Stories from Across the Web

Comments

  1. kahlcke85 says

    use the metric system you hillbillies!

  2. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part :) I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

Trackbacks

  1. […] featuring modern twists on classics, and word on the street is that he’ll make you the best classic cocktail you’ve ever had. So naturally when he was in town from New York to train the staff at Hinoki I asked him if he […]

  2. […] For those not familiar with the name, Ross is responsible for training L.A.’s own superstar bartenders Julian Cox (Rivera, Playa, Picca) and Joel Black (Caña Rum Bar, Three Clubs) when he launched the cocktail program at West Hollywood’s Comme Ça back in 2007. He’s only been on the cocktail scene for less than a decade and already has a legacy. You can thank him for those big blocks of ice in cocktails, new twists on classics and Penicillin. […]

Speak Your Mind

leaderboard bottom