How The West Was Fun

Photos by Nancee E. Lewis
Galloping into downtown’s Grant Grill this month is a new gang of drinks straight out of the Old West, or at least as it has been portrayed on the silver screen.

“Each drink is named after one of my favorite Westerns and inspired by that particular film, not only by the characters, but by where and when the film takes place,” says Cory Alberto, Grant Grill’s Chef de Bar.

Seven Samurai (1954)

Jasmine green tea-infused Dickel White Whiskey, Byejoe (Chinese liquor), honey, orange-blossom water, Allspice Dram and house-made Buddha’s Hand bitters

Dedicated to the katana-wielding samurai in the Japanese Western of the same name (1960’s The Magnificent Seven is a remake of this film), this Asian-influenced drink includes elements of the Wild West and is served in an antique-style teakettle with two aged, casted teacups.

The menu, titled The Magnificent 7 (a remake of the 1960 Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson film is slated to hit movie theaters September 23), pays homage to Alberto’s favorite Western. The members of this spirited septet are perfect for stopping in at sunset... or riding off into one.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Bottled rye whiskey, Liquor 43 (vanilla citrus flavor), and house-made Mexican root beer

Indian and Mexican sarsaparilla roots combined with cinnamon, ancho chili and star anise (from the root beer) form the foundation of this hard soda inspired by the classic Clint Eastwood revenge flick. The smidge of smoke and hint of chili peppers seal the deal before the house-brewed root beer is carbonated and bottled on-site.

True Grit (1969)

Scotch, brandy, Galliano liqueur, Drambuie, house-made herbal-orange soda (heavy on rosemary) and cinnamon bitters

This John Wayne-inspired cocktail (based on the actor’s role as a drunken, no-nonsense U.S. Marshal) holds true to its name, delivering a manly mixture unsuitable for the faint of heart. Presented in an antique glass, this drink sports an old-school bandana that pays further tribute to the film’s star.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Tequila, lemon, aperol, agave nectar, egg white and a tajin-candied lemon wheel

This riff on the Gold Rush (a classic bourbon cocktail popular during that era) draws inspiration from Mexico and the American Southwest. Served in an antique coupe glass with a gold rim affirms its treasure status and would no doubt get a nod from the film’s leading man, Humphrey Bogart.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Six-month Génépi Americana (Italian herbal liqueur), bourbon, glogg (Swedish mulled wine), peach puree, ginger beer

If a Spaghetti Western and alcohol hooked up, this cocktail would be their love child, and Henry Fonda (the film’s leading man) would be its grandfather. Mixed with bourbon, Grant Grill’s Génépi Americana (a spirit aged on-site with domestic botanicals, white whiskey and locally made honey) is what makes this drink work. Refreshing peach puree and ginger beer make it easy for everyone to enjoy.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Mezcal, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, Ancho Reyes (ancho chile liqueur), grenadine, smoked and flamed cinnamon stick

While the mezcal embodies Butch Cassidy’s spirit in this cocktail, the infusion of grenadine with pineapple and grapefruit juices adds the look of a sunset, or Sundance. In the end, the smoky and sweet elements play off both protagonists (played in the film by Paul Newman and Robert Redford ) and are certain to please palates.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Dry-aged ribeye-fat-washed rye, Cynar (artichoke-based liqueur), sweet vermouth, cigar foam

Like its name suggests, this drink combines three distinct ingredients to form one epic experience. And because Clint Eastwood’s character is rarely seen without a cigar throughout this film, the smoky foam completes the connection.