Veteran New York City bartender Phil Ward’s contributions to the cocktail industry are immeasurable—he’s worked behind (and owned) some of the best bars in the boroughs and is credited with an impressive list of modern classics, namely the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, which he created for Death & Co in 2007. Though perhaps lesser-known, Ward’s Good Cork cocktail is just as likely to become a regular in your repertoire, especially if you’re a fan of Irish whiskey. And mezcal. Or unlikely-yet-surprisingly-good spirit combinations in general.
Originally featured on the Mayahuel menu, the Good Cork combines its two base spirits in equal parts alongside a bit of Benedictine and Peychaud’s bitters for a winning combination. It’s the spirit-forward nightcap you never knew you needed. Mayahuel, may it rest in peace, was Ward’s ode to agave spirits and was widely beloved by industry and everyday drinkers alike—in fact, we can trace the contemporary agave-based cocktail boom to this bar, and the spirit of Mayahuel lives on, much like Ward’s affinity for mezcal and its ilk.
But where does the Irish whiskey come in, you ask? For starters, this spirit brings both body and a different spectrum of fruit notes than what you’d ordinarily find in mezcal, and Ward uses single pot still Irish whiskey in this cocktail to boot, which parallels the distillation process used to make mezcal. Pot still Irish whiskeys tend to lean funky and spicy, which stands up nicely against the smoke—subtle or not-so—brought forth by its partner in crime here. We could go on, but we’ll let the drink speak for itself.
- 1 ounce single pot still Irish whiskey
- 1 ounce mezcal
- 1/2 ounce Benedictine
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- Garnish: apple slice
Add the Irish whiskey, mezcal, Benedictine, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with an apple slice.