Often referred to as Austin’s father of craft cocktails, Bill Norris has been slinging clever concoctions to slake the thirst of his customers for nearly two decades. As the beverage director for Alamo Drafthouse and its more than forty locations, he has also developed numerous associated bar concepts, including Austin’s award-winning Midnight Cowboy. Norris is the latest bartender to participate in Texas Monthly‘s summertime video series, TM Happy Hour, with new installments from some of the state’s best bartenders every Friday through mid-August. With Texas bars closed right now in the fight against COVID-19, we are also promoting each mixologist’s charity of choice. Norris references the Alamo Family Fund, which has distributed more than $750,000 to members of the Alamo hospitality staff since the start of the pandemic.
Offering a nod to one of New York’s stalwart cocktail meccas, the Pegu Club, which recently closed its doors permanently in the wake of the coronavirus turmoil, Norris has selected the eponymous cocktail. “The Pegu Club’s reach and importance can’t be overstated,” he says. “Its alums are a who’s who of the contemporary cocktail world; none of us would be here without the work owner Audrey Saunders and her team did over the years.”
The Pegu Club
3/4 ounces fresh lime juice
3/4 ounces orange curaçao, such as Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao or Grand Marnier (something with a cognac or brandy base works best, but in a pinch—or a global pandemic—Cointreau or similar will work too).
2 ounces of a traditional London dry–style gin
1 dash angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake hard for at least 10 seconds. This drink is best very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a slice or wheel of lime.