Guest Bartender Series

Brett Robison of Republic

Brett Robison

Brett Robison's cocktails make use of carbonators and atomizers, giving a wonderful effervescence to the three cocktails below.  Be sure to check him out at Republic in Takoma Park, Maryland.


This recipe will make several cocktails for you and your guests.

13½ oz Watershed Gin
4 oz Strong tonic syrup
2 oz bitter lemon syrup*
10 oz water
3 spray Kübler absinthe/lemon bitters mix
Cucumber garnish

Load ingredients into a SodaStream™ device and carbonate. Spray finished drink with "ex spray" & garnish w/ cuke.

5 miles to Midnight

7½ oz Mosby's Spirit
3¾ oz grapefruit juice
2½ oz Aperol
2½ oz bitter lemon syrup*
16 oz water
Cucumber garnish

Load ingredients into a SodaStream™ device and carbonate. Garnish with cucumber.

Republic CocktailNet Worth

1½ oz 1757 Virginia Brandy or Roundstone Rye
½ oz Suze or house made Gentian liqueur/syrup
⅓ oz bitter lemon syrup*
3 dashes Peychaud's
1 dash Angostura
2 sprays Absinthe/lemon bitters
Lemon peel garnish

Stir ingredients (minus absinthe) with ice & strain into a cocktail glass. Spray with Absinthe/lemon bitters & garnish with lemon peel.

Photos courtesy of Scott Suchman and Republic, and used with permission.


*Bitter Lemon Syrup

This syrup is on the more adventurous side, but follow this recipe closely, and you can do it.  It's worth the effort!

880g white sugar
880g lemon peels (w/ pith, a little fruit)
4 cups water

Setting up for this syrup is key. One very large, shallow sheet pan is needed. An additional sheet pan that is the same size or another pan that is deeper will also be beneficial.

In the larger pan you create a salt water ice bath. Lay the smaller sheet pan on top. It should not submerge or be able to submerge into the ice bath below, we don't want to get salt water in there.

Spread the lemon peels out evenly across the sheet pan.

Bring water to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, slowly add/incorporate all of the white sugar while stirring continuously. Once all the sugar has dissolved, cut the heat and remove pot from the burner. Transfer hot syrup evenly over the lemons in the sheet pan. Once in the sheet pan, gently push the liquid back and forth to expedite the cooling process. If you've done it right, a big burst of lemony smell should emerge from the sheet pan.

Couple key concepts here:

Spreading liquid thinly allows it to cool significantly faster.

Rapid cooling of the syrup solution creates the appropriate texture, viscous but not heavy like most syrups end up being.

Additional cooling occurs when syrup comes into contact with lemon peels.

Finally, the addition of hot syrup allows the lemon peels to be exposed to enough heat to remove some aromatic components and essential oils, but prevents them from getting too bitter/gross.

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Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel (540) 751-8404

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