Bar Talk: Whiskey at McEwen’s

By Updated: September 27, 2018 4:00 AM CT | Published: September 26, 2018 11:54 AM CT

Bert Smythe likes whiskey so much that he keeps a selection of 185-plus bottles behind the bar at McEwen’s, the restaurant at 120 Monroe he owns with partner John Littlefield.

If you need a stiff drink, you can find one there at a very reasonable cost (starting at $6) to a lofty $125 per 2-ounce pour for the finest he offers.

That’s not anything you want to put in a cocktail, but here’s one of his recipes that is absurdly good, and it is so simple.

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The Alchemist


  • 1 ½ ounces Eagle Rare bourbon
  • ¾ ounce Carpano Antica vermouth
  • ½ ounce Aperol
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters


Stir or gently shake, then pour over ice ball (or cubes) and garnish with a lemon peel.


Bar Talk McEwen's Bert Smythe The Alchemist Recipes
Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs is a native Memphian and veteran food writer and journalist who covers all things food, dining and spirits related for The Daily Memphian.

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