In the world of cocktails, recipes typically fall into two notable categories: classics and modern classics. The former are the household names—Martini, Negroni, Manhattan—that emerged well before our current revival, yet remain timeless templates. The latter are those more contemporary creations, often based on Golden Age recipes, that have made the leap from cocktail to classic through a combination of popularity and virality. Increasingly, however, these modern classics have spawned their own bevy of offshoots that might just pave the way for a new chapter in the modern classic canon—modern classics, remixed.
Perhaps more than any other, the Scotch-based Penicillin has proved the most riffable modern classic. Itself a modified Gold Rush (another modern classic), Sam Ross’ whisky-ginger drink inspired the signature offering at Brooklyn’s now-closed Diamond Reef: the Penichillin, a frozen spin on the original pulled straight from the slushy machine, topped with a signature float of peated Scotch.
But the Diamond Reef team was not alone in looking to the deep freeze. Down in Miami, Christine Wiseman of Bar Lab throws the Pornstar Martini into the blender for her “nice and boozy” gin-based take on the British-born classic. Nick Detrich of New Orleans’ Manolito, which exclusively offers blended drinks, naturally thought to put the Amaretto Sour (a disco drink–turned–modern classic, thanks to Jeffrey Morgenthaler) in the blender too. With an unexpected splash of pineapple juice, the frappéd take offers an ice-cold, bittersweet kick.
Other remixes require no additional tools. Orlando Franklin McCray’s White Negroni Fizz, for instance, transforms the fairer Negroni with the addition of soda water, a splash of lemon juice and a store-bought vegan foamer into a tall frothy, well, fizz. Nick Brown’s Amen Corner, meanwhile, pares down the Paper Plane by ditching lemon juice, slightly tweaking the equal-parts ratios and adding a hit of freshly muddled mint.
It’s the Paper Plane that likewise inspired Joaquín Simó’s Naked & Famous, a drink he describes as “the bastard child born out of an illicit Oaxacan love affair between the classic Last Word and the Paper Plane.” Sticking to equal parts, the mezcal-Aperol-Chartreuse-lemon combo has made the jump that every modern classic riff aspires to—becoming a bona fide modern classic itself.