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Drink DuJour: Elevated Outcrop

Savor this cold-weather cocktail made from rare and unique ingredients

“The ingredients of the Elevated Outcrop are obscure,” says John McCarthy, cocktail director at Cedar Local in Manhattan’s Financial District and bartender at Bathtub Gin in Chelsea. Made with vodka named after the rare Snow Leopard, it’s immediately apparent why the drink has such exceptional ingredients. “Since the Snow Leopard is an elusive animal, I wanted to use somewhat esoteric elements in creating the cocktail,” explains McCarthy. “I chose the name Elevated Outcrop because, in my mind, where would you see a snow leopard? On an elevated outcrop in the Himalayas.” 

Inspired by the nutty flavor of Snow Leopard vodka, McCarthy wanted to show that it could stand up to intense flavors. “I wanted to use Snow Leopard as a platform to build a bitter, herbaceous sipping cocktail for the fall,” he explains. “I knew that I wanted to use Zirbenz, which is a stone pine liqueur from the Alps, and since the Snow Leopard is a Himalayan animal, I liked the idea of using an ingredient from a mountainous place.”

The ingredients may be unusual, but McCarthy ensures that you can find most of them in any boutique liquor store. “Zirbenz is a one-of-a-kind product, it has distinctive pine flavor that no other liqueur has. Suze is a gentian liqueur and Avez is a similar product but either brand would work for the drink. You’d have to make the coriander and green peppercorn syrup, but the ingredients are readily available at most grocery stores. I made my own celery bitters, but any commercial brand will work.”

What makes this drink so appropriate for the season? “The piney element of the Zirbenz that reminds you of fall, of Christmas, of winter. This is definitely a cold-weather cocktail—a drink to sip in front of the fire.”



2 oz. Snow Leopard Vodka
0.5 oz. Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur
0.25 oz. Suze Saveur d’ Autrefois
0.25 oz. Coriander & Green Peppercorn syrup*
1 dash Bitter Truth Celery Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Serve stirred with a large ice cube in a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon wheel or peel and fresh cracked coriander and green peppercorn.