Better & Better

Better And Better. Beitragsbild. © Le Lion - Swetlana Holz.

The Better & Better is characterised by the combination of smoky mezcal and ester-rich rum and is a successful variation of an Old Fashioned cocktail.

45 ml Del Maguey Chichicapa mezcal
15 ml Smith & Cross rum
7,5 ml The Amber falernum
1 lemon zest as garnish

Preparation: Stirred. Serve in a tumbler with a large piece of ice. Sprinkle with a lemon zest and garnish.

We couldn’t find much about this drink on the internet, only that it was created by Jan Warren and is said to have originated in 2012 at Dutch Kills in New York. [1] However, this is not correct. We got in touch with Jan and he told us the truth about this drink:

While that drink was definitely popularized during my time at Dutch Kills, I created it several years before (2007). I was working the bar at a restaurant called 10 Downing in Manhattan, and had recently come back from a trip to Mexico, where I fell in love with mezcal. Serendipitously, Arik Torren had just started pushing his brand, Fidencio, in NYC. He came in, had a bottle with him, and I played with a few combinations of flavors. I’ve always liked boozy, aggressive drinks, like Boccato’s American Trilogy, so I basically made an Old Fashioned variation. The Falernum acts as the sweetener, and has some of the spice elements that Angostura would normally provide, while Smith and Cross (navy strength rum) provides a rich bass note of caramel and tropical fruit that fits nicely with a smoky, vegetal mezcal. I twisted a lemon peel on top and gave it to Arik. At first taste, he found it very strong, and after about 5 minutes of tiny sips he looked up and said “this drink is amazing! it keeps getting better and better!”. The name was born. To be very clear: while at that point, I hadn’t worked in the Petraske family of bars, my real and only experience with cocktails was at Little Branch, where I was lucky enough to watch a collection of some of the best bartenders in the world, taste their drinks, and learn about how the ingredients of cocktails fit together. The Better & Better is born of that tradition, so it might as well have been created at one of the Petraske family bars.[3]

Jan had already worked as a bartender at first, then had come to cooking, but wanted to go back to bartending. He had learned during his time in the kitchen that excellence matters, and he wanted to deliver that excellence in bartending as well. He worked in a nightclub, and Little Branch across the street was his little slice of heaven. Jan became friends with the bartenders working there, and when Richard Boccato, one of the owners of the Little Branch, was looking for staff for the newly opened Dutch Kills, he transferred there. The inspiration for the drinks served there comes from the old classics. They try to stay as close to these as possible with slight variations. Their drinks are kept pretty simple and classic. [2]

So we see that the Better & Better practically reflects Jan’s career perfectly. His quest for excellence in bartending, the influence of Sasha Petraske, his path from simple bars to a renowned bar that focuses on classic drinks.

We thank Jan for his comments on his drink and would definitely recommend it to you. Cheerio!

  1. https://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/3524/better-and-better: Better & Better
  2. http://www.nancy-lippincott.com/blog/2016/6/18/meet-your-mixologist-jan-warren-of-dutch-kills: Meet Your Mixologist: Jan Warren of Dutch Kills. 1. June 2016.
  3. E-Mail von Jan Warren vom 15. Januar 2017.


https://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/3524/better-and-better: Better & Better. 45 ml Del Maguey VIDA mezcal (original: Fidencio blanco mezcal); 15 ml Smith & Cross Pot Still Jamaican rum; 7.5 ml Velvet Falernum; garnish: lemon zest.

2017 Jan Warren, E-Mail of 15. January 2017. Better & Better. 1/4 ounce John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum; 1/2 ounce Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum; 1 and 1/2 ounces Fidencio Clasico (Blanco Mezcal); combine ingredients in an old fashioned glass, add ice, stir briefly, and garnish with a lemon twist.

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Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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