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Cheers To 2023: Bartenders Talk About Making Favorite Cocktails | News, Sports, Jobs

Forte Restaurant, 114 E. Fourth St., manager Nick Dean holds A Long December cocktail.
P-J photos by Michael Zabrodsky

Some people have their favorite alcoholic beverages to consume.

The same may be said for bartenders.

There are some bartenders, sometimes referred to as mixicologists, who have their favorite beverages to make.

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At Forte Restaurant, 114 E. Fourth St., Jamestown, bar manager Nick Dean said classic cocktails — a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned, a Martini — are the norm, but bartenders there also create their own cocktails.

“What I really enjoy, what we love making is multi-step drinks and also our own original cocktails,” Dean said.

Sam Lisciandro, manager of The Pub, located at 209 N. Main St., Jamestown.

Dean added that at Forte, the cocktail menu changes monthly.

“Every month we put out a new slate of drinks that sometimes are twist on the classics or others are wholly invented. So we’ve been doing one this month on our menu called A Long December,” Dean noted.

The cocktail is made of gin, spiced cranberry simple syrup, pine liqueur, acide-adjusted orange juice (to bring out the tartness), citrus bitters, Free Foam (makes cocktail thicker), aerated, and served in a Coupe glass.

“So it’s got orange flavor, but puckers like lime. … It’s got a real neat kind of holiday flavor without being overwhelmingly too sweet or anything. So that’s one of my favorites,” Dean added.

Dean said at Forte, it’s a collaborative effort coming up with new cocktails. He said many times he gets credit for cocktail recipes, but “I wouldn’t be anything without the team that I have.”

A Long December cocktail is made of gin, spiced cranberry simple syrup, pine liqueur, acide-adjusted orange juice (to bring out the tartness), citrus bitters, Free Foam (makes cocktail thicker), aerated, and served in a Coupe glass.

Co-bartenders Brianna Harris, Amanda Schiratti, and restaurant owner Peggy Kaltenmeier, bounce ideas off of Dean to create cocktail recipes. A Long December cocktail, Dean said, was inspired by the song of the same name by The Counting Crows, from the 1996 release “Recovering the Satellites.”

Dean has been invited to several cocktail competitions as well as having a cocktail recipe published in a book by renowned mixocologist Gary Regan. Regan died in 2019.

Dean also won 2015 Cocktail Creator Extraordinaire by The Grape Discovery Center at 8305 West Main Road, Westfield.

Dean said in recent years, people have been enjoying a cocktail renaissance, which started in some of the bigger cities in the United States.

For Sam Lisciandro, manager and bartender at The Pub, 209 N. Main St., he prefers the Old Fashioned.

“It takes time to do it. It will taste right if you do it right,” Lisciandro said of the beverage.

Lisciandro will muddle sugar and bitters in a glass, then he will pack the glass with ice, add bourbon, and a splash of soda. Next he will garnish with cherries and an orange peel. Other bartenders may make the beverage differently and a rye whiskey instead of bourbon., said the recipe calls for:

¯ 1 teaspoon (5g) superfine sugar, toasted sugar, or 1 sugar cube

¯ 2 to 3 dashes bitters

¯ 2 ounces (60ml) bourbon or rye whiskey

¯ Orange and/or cocktail cherry, to garnish (optional)

“The Old Fashioned is one of the most venerable of cocktails, predating not only the motorcar but the presidency of Abe Lincoln. All it takes is serving whiskey, sugar, bitters and, if you like, a cherry or orange garnish on the rocks. Properly made, it’s strong but not too strong, sweet but not too sweet, and, most importantly, it’s dead-simple and absolutely delicious,” the website said. added that the drink works because bitters add complexity and dimension to the bourbon or rye. Sugar brings subtle sweetness to open the bourbon’s aroma. Toasted sugar tastes less sweet than plain, and can add a subtle note of caramel to play off the bourbon or rye.

According to, bitters are small bottles of spirits infused with botanicals (herbs and spices) that are used to flavor cocktails. They’re essential in modern mixology, as they make drinks taste extraordinarily complex with just a few shakes. This is because they’re made with so many different ingredients and the flavors are not easily recognizable. The first bitters to be mass produced were Angostura bitters, marketed as a medicinal tonic in the mid-1800’s. But today the most popular use is in cocktails.

The Post-Journal does not condone drinking and driving this holiday season or at any other time during the year.

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