Fish & Game, in Hudson, N.Y., which Esquire named one of the most influential restaurants of the decade, was known for its new-wave farm-to-table cooking, whole utilization techniques and fresh ingredients. Though the restaurant closed in 2020, its Cotter Swizzle cocktail lives on, epitomizing the restaurant’s low-waste philosophy through the use of a red wine vinegar made from wine past its prime. This adds bright acidity and depth to the drink, all while saving the Earth bottle by bottle. In addition to the house-made vinegar, this drink calls for fresh citrus, ginger, slightly-sweet Old Tom gin and aromatic bitters, together creating a uniquely zippy and complex flavor profile that’ll make you regret every ounce of yesteryear’s red wine poured down the drain.
“The Cotter Swizzle was originally a collaboration between me and a bartender who worked at Fish & Game, Kat Dunn,” says Jori Jayne Emde, the founder of Lady Jayne’s Alchemy and former fermentation consultant for Fish & Game. “I had made some wild sumac tea, which is tart and tannic, so we played around with other additions to build a lightly sweet, tart and spiced Swizzle. Over time, I built on the drink as I was producing more and more vinegar, so I swapped out the wild sumac tea for my vinegar as it added a similar flavor to the drink.” The cocktail was named for the road Emde lives on, since its ingredients—the wild sumac and the red wine vinegar—come from there.
- 1 3/4 ounces Ransom Old Tom gin
- 1 ounce ginger liqueur
- 1 ounce red wine vinegar*
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 4 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish: sliced ginger
Add the gin, liqueur, red wine vinegar and lime juice into a Collins glass with crushed ice and swizzle until the ice starts to melt.
Top with more crushed ice to mound and gently pat down.
Add the Angostura bitters over the top of the ice.
Garnish with thinly sliced ginger on top of the ice.
*Jori Jayne Emde’s red wine vinegar: Place a quart-size jar on a scale and tare to zero. Pour red wine (up to one bottle) into the jar and note the weight. Divide weight by four and add that quantity of any unpasteurized vinegar to the jar. (For example, if you have 550 grams of red wine, add 137.5 grams of raw vinegar.) Cover the jar with cheesecloth and keep at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Stir the mixture once a week. You want the liquid on the bottom to make its way to the top of the jar to be exposed to free oxygen. Allow the mix to ferment until it smells sharp and vinegar-like. Once it does, check the pH with a digital pH meter. The pH should be between 2.5 and 5. (The lower the pH, the stronger the acid.) Once you’ve achieved the desired acidity, fine-strain the mixture into an airtight container and store it at room temperature out of direct sunlight.