kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

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The New Commonwealth

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sample the cocktails and cuisine at the new Emeril's Chophouse. Located in the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA (on the former site of Bethlehem Steel Company), the Chophouse is Emeril's only location in the northeast. We got to taste many of Chef de Cuisine Michael Blydenstein's creations: our favorites were the Crispy Fried Calamari (with fried pickles), Yellowfin Tuna Wraps, the Grilled Peach and Chevre Salad (with baby arugula and Parma Ham), spicy Shrimp Arrabbiata and the scrumptious New York Strip (with delish sides including French fries with truffle oil.)

Jason Lonigro's cocktail menu features both classic concoctions like the Sazerac, as well as modern creations. His New Commonwealth cocktail gives a nod to the restaurant's Pennyslvania home, with Philadelphia Bluecoat Gin, and penn 1681 Vodka. If you can't find the latter, any high quality vodka will do. Don't skip out on the house-made cherries, though, as they make the drink-just soak fresh pitted cherries in some kind of liquor. So much better than the bright red artificially colored and flavored ones.

The New Commonwealth
Courtesy of Jason Lonigro, Emeril's Chophouse, Bethlehem, PA
1 oz.Bluecoat Gin
1 oz. Penn 1681 Vodka (or another high-quality vodka)
1/2 oz. Cointreau
Splash of simple syrup, to taste (boil equal parts sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
1 dash kosher or sea salt
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 oz. fresh sour mix (equal parts simple syrup, lime and lemon juices)
1 house soaked cherry (pit and soak cherries in brandy, rum or cognac.)

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients excluding the cherry. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a house soaked cherry.