[Editor’s note: The Ritz Prime Seafood closed March 2017]
The Ritz Prime Seafood in Newport Beach offers a spectacularly boozy signature cocktail: the Ritz 55, inspired by the restaurant’s longevity. The drink resembles a Sazerac or Vieux Carre, both steeped in tradition. It’s smooth and classic, with an edge. It’s also very liquor forward—but bar manager Mauricio Burgos says not to be intimidated: “Take three sips; by the third you’ll be used to it!” An absinthe rinse enhances the nose and opens the palate; notes of caramel and orange match the burnt-orange color. It’s generally served over a large ice cube, as shown, but we request it neat.
1/4 ounce absinthe
1 ounce High West Double Rye
1 ounce Hennessy VS Cognac
1/4 ounce B&B liqueur
1/4 ounce Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
2 hard dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 hard dash orange bitters
Coat the inside of a glass with absinthe; discard the excess. Combine remaining ingredients and stir. Serve over one large ice cube. Garnish with lemon rind.