Rob Rittmeyer makes an Old Fashioned with a little bit of bourbon, a little bit of sugar and “a little bit of love.”
As is standard for this drink, Rittmeyer crushes the sugar by hand, with a muddler. He has two to choose from: an old-school wooden muddler and a newer one that sports a metal handle and a plastic end. For a man who’s been texting for only a year, the vintage muddler will do.
“I’m an old-fashioned kind of guy,” Rittmeyer, who’s been a bartender in Santa Fe for 15 years now, says. “I like the old one.”
Rittmeyer came to Santa Fe from Taos in 1997 to work at Blue Corn Café and Brewery, which, like Rio Chama Steakhouse, is owned by Santa Fe art magnate Gerald Peters. He landed at Rio Chama four years later.
Rittmeyer’s Old Fashioneds are available any night of the week at Rio Chama. They’ve become prevalent since mojitos became popular around five years ago, he says.
He’s also ready for a new drink to take off: the Vesper Martini. Named after James Bond’s girlfriend in Casino Royale, the Vesper Martini features Hendrick’s gin, Grey Goose vodka, Lillet aperitif wine and a lemon twist.
Lillet, a personal favorite of Peters’ (no relation to the author) wife, according to Rittmeyer, gives the martini its near-fatal bite. The bar is ready to put the drink officially on the menu soon, Rittmeyer says, but until then, you’ll have to make a special request.
Vesper Martini: Combine Hendrick’s gin, Grey Goose vodka and a splash of Lillet in a mixer, shake, and pour with a lemon twist.
Woodford Old Fashioned: Mix Woodford Reserve bourbon, water, muddled sugar, a sliced orange and a maraschino cherry and serve.