Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | August 14, 2012

Age of Reason

My good friend Han Shan is, among many other things, a part time bartender at B-Side in the East Village. B-Side is a concrete floored, punk rock juke box, tiny pool table, beer and shots dive that seems to only exist in its purest form in the EVill. But when Han is behind the stick, he’s been known to bring some high end ingredients from his home to make craft cocktails. His bartending is totally incongruous with B-Side and yet totally perfect for a night of drinking.

One of Han’s originally created cocktails was recently named by bartending luminary and master craft cocktailian Gary Regan to be one of the 101 Best New Cocktails of 2012. Here is the Age of Reason:

Age of Reason by Han Shan

2 oz Michter’s rye whiskey
5 oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac Ambre
.5 oz Cochi Americano
1 generous barspoon green Chartreuse
1 generous barspoon yellow Chartreuse
10 drops Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters
1 lemon twist

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Run the twist around the rim of the glass, then discard.

Here’s how Han describes this cocktail:

“The spicy Michter’s rye is the backbone while the cognac smooths the rough edges a bit and the sweet herbaciousness of the Chartreuse(s) play off the spicy bittersweet of the Cochi, with the tiki-inspired bitters doing something alchemical that nothing else on my bar quite did to bring it all together. The lemon oil swipe gives it a brightness in the nose upon first sip and mostly stands back after that as you enjoy this (hopefully) balanced and delicious, easy-drinking, amber-colored quaff.

The drink is named for Tom Paine to recognize the coming together of French & American ingredients. I should have endeavored to find something English to put in there to really make the case but then I’ll call that one the ‘Tom Paine.’

BTW, for me, ‘generous barspoon’= about 1/4 oz. but I always have trouble nailing that with my jigger and one can use a tiny bit less or more to suit one’s tastes. The barspoon works for me. Last note is that the only way you can get one of these (or a decent Manhattan or Sidecar or whatever) at our friendly neighborhood beer-n-shot dive B-Side where I’m currently tending is to alert me ahead of time so I can bring the ingredients with me from home… which I sometimes do.”

And here’s Gaz’s commentary:

The combination of straight rye whiskey and a great (really great) cognac, immediately reminds me of a Vieux Carré, but the similarity ends right there. Han made some bold moves with this drink, and they paid off well—especially in the case of the Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters which, on paper, make no sense. In the glass, though, they play a ukulele while the other ingredients dance like Uma Thurman and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. It’s a drink that brings a smile to my face.

Congrats Han, for making a creative new drink that impressed Gaz Regan!



  1. […] days given by Wondrich and Jeff Berry. • Matt Hamlin of A Jigger of Blog writes about the Age of Reason by Han Shan who works at the East Village’s B-Side. Whiskey, Cognac, and herbal notes from […]

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