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Six Hangar 1 Vodka Drinks from the Manhattan Cocktail Classic


Six Hangar 1 Vodka Drinks from the Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Inventive bartenders offer recipes that are subtle, sophisticated and not too sweet

by CH Contributor
on 15 May 2014

by Jennifer Miller


Last weekend, the New York Public Library opened its doors for one of the city’s most egalitarian black tie events: the Manhattan Cocktail Classic opening gala. Thousands of guests entered the library’s mood-lit halls, sipping a selection of 100 different cocktails. Meanwhile, six bartenders from New York, SF and LA mixed original drinks in a small reading room, dubbed the Craft in a Glass Lounge.

The spirit on hand was Hangar 1 vodka, the tipple from a craft distillery that launched in a Northern California airplane hangar in 2002. Hangar 1 sponsored the event in celebration of its new 32,500 sq foot micro-distillery (which opens this summer) and its new head distiller—Caley Shoemaker, the first female to take on the job.


Shoemaker, who came from Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey in Denver, is hoping to show her fellow vodka lovers that great cocktails don’t have to be syrupy sweet. “A lot of the current product and messaging in-market that is targeted to female drinkers focuses on 'skinny' drinks and overly fruity, flavored beverages,” she says. “People are increasingly interested in handcrafted spirits. I want to offer an authentic alternative.” Shoemaker says this same project is being promoted by an “emerging influential” generation of female booze experts, including those from the Clover Club, Nitecap, Trick Dog, Tavern on the Green, The Dead Rabbit and The NoMad—all of whom were at the Craft in a Glass Lounge. Hangar 1 blends Voignier grapes and Midwestern wheat, which gives it just a hint of fruit. “It goes particularly well with fresh herbs, fruits and spices,” says Shoemaker.

Her challenge at Hangar 1 is, “to create a vodka that is distinct, yet not overpowering, serving to compliment the other ingredients.” This is a real transition from Shoemaker’s previous work in whiskey (which soaks up flavor from the barrels in which it ages), as vodka is ready right away. There’s no wait time, but also "no place to hide"—purity is everything. Shoemaker is excited to experiment with so much “cocktail creativity,” but her preferred way to drink Hangar 1 is straight up. If you’d like to try Shoemaker’s vodka mixed with just the right flavors, try these original recipes from the bartenders at Craft in a Glass Lounge.


developed by Julie Reiner (Clover Club, NYC)
1 ½ oz Hangar 1 vodka
1 ½ oz Cocchi Americano Rosa
¼ oz Ramazzotti Amaro
2 dashes orange bitters

Stir and strain into a coupe glass before garnishing with an orange twist.

Golden Bear Punch

developed by Lacy Hawkins (The NoMad, NYC) 
1 ½ oz Hangar 1 Vodka
1 oz Cocchi Barolo Chinato
½ oz verjus
½ oz lime juice
½ oz honey syrup (2:1)

Quick-shake the ingredients with a cucumber slice. Pour over a giant ice cube and then top with an ounce of bubbles. Garnish with frozen green grapes and English cucumber wheels, in a teacup.

After Dark

developed by Natasha David (Nitecap, NYC)
1 ½ oz Hangar 1 Vodka
1 ½ oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
½ oz Clear Creek Distillery Pear Eau de Vie
1 dash Absinthe

Stir all ingredients over ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a floating cucumber slice.

The Left Coast

developed by Caitlin Laman (Trick Dog, San Francisco)
1 ½ oz Hangar 1 Vodka
¾ oz Cappelletti Aperitivo
¾ oz lemon juice
½ oz Small Hand Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup
1 barspoon rich simple syrup (2:1)
fresh strawberries

Build the cocktail a highball glass. Muddle fresh strawberries and mint, add ice, top with soda water. Garnish with mint sprig and a strawberry slice.

Dawn’s Early Light

developed by Jane Elkins (Tavern on the Green, NYC)
2 oz Hangar 1 Vodka 
¾ lemon, sliced
2 tbsp apricot preserves

Combine the ingredients in a small, airtight container, such as a jam jar. Muddle ingredients with wooden spoon. Add ice, then shake for 20 seconds to chill. Top with a splash of club soda. There's no garnish and this beverage should be served in a jam jar.

The Skinny Bean

developed by Pam Wiznitzer (The Dead Rabbit, NYC)
1 ½ oz Hangar 1 Vodka
2 ½ oz iced coffee
1 oz unsweetened almond milk
1 packet Nectresse sweetener
2 drops vanilla extract
2 drops hazelnut extract

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and strain into a highball glass with a straw. Pre-rim a glass with a mixture of vanilla sugar—made with Nectresse—and ground coffee. Serve it in a Highball glass.

Images courtesy of Hanna Lee

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