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10.05.10 by  

When It Raines, Meaghan Pours

Raines Law Room mistress of ceremonies Meaghan Dorman blends timeless classics with signature creations to modernize your old-school cocktail experience.

Ring the bell of NYC’s Raines Law Room, enter an unassuming turn-of-the-century-styled townhouse and instantly feel like you’ve been transported back in time … or smack into a game of Clue. Plush, decadent and ye-olde-towne-chic, the space offers the lounge, the parlor, the kitchen or the garden, whatever vibe your illicit affair requires. Choreographing your cocktail experience, head bartender Meaghan Dorman offers a menu as discreet and creative as your excuse for being there.

Meaghan can craft you any drink from classic to modern-creative. Still, her last drink on earth, the simple but delectable champagne cocktail. Photo: Lush Life Productions

served raw: you’ve said you innovate new drinks by starting with the classics then mixing it up — can you school someone doing this at home?
meaghan dorman: For someone starting at home, I would say begin with the basics and take care of your ingredients, like keeping vermouth in the fridge and using fresh juice. Liquor-wise, you don’t have to break the bank, but don’t go the opposite and buy the cheapest either. Get yourself a hand juicer, shaker, tempered pint glass, julep and Hawthorne strainer and a couple of jiggers so you can measure ingredients. Also if there is a cocktail you really love, don’t be afraid to ask the bartender for the recipe. Most are more than willing to share.

any must-know cocktails every “home bartender” should learn to create?
A great Manhattan is always impressive, so that’s a solid one to start with. Also I don’t know anyone that can’t appreciate a good French 75, which is light and a good choice for parties.

any drink recommendations that are easy but high in “wow factor” …
A classic champagne cocktail is one of my favorite drinks, and it looks fantastic. You just need a coupe glass, put bit of brandy in the bottom. Fill the rest with champagne. Then you zest with a lemon peel and drop in an Angostura bitters-soaked sugar cube. The sugar cube makes a great fizz as it sinks and starts to dissolve. Guests always love this drink, and most important, it’s delicious!

what modern drinks are becoming the new classics?
There are cocktails that have come out greats bars like Pegu Club and Milk & Honey are part of the newest era of cocktail history. For example, the Gin-Gin Mule and the Penicillin are really well known and now made all over the world.

there’s a lot of flash with a lot of the new cocktail menus — what are the down-and-dirty basics that make a great cocktail and an amazing bar experience for you personally.
Personally, I’m a fan of simple but creative drinks. It’s amazing sometimes how putting a few quality spirits together can make something with its own delicious flavor profile. In terms of an amazing bar experience, it’s as much about the rest of the environment as well as the drinks. I always appreciate friendly, knowledgeable service and a bartender that can really control the energy and make sure people are having a great time.

if we walked into the newly launched Meaghan Dorman Bar, what would the experience be like …
Any bar I would have in the future would be a lot like what we do at Raines Law Room. The entire staff is well-trained and there to take care of you. I love classic cocktails and creating spins on those with all the spirits we have available to us these days, so I’d have a diverse list to cater to everyone from the seasoned cocktail drinker to those who stick to simpler choices. Anyone who knows me also knows I love a glass of champagne, so I’d have a varied wine list with plenty of bubbly options! Also so important is the music at a bar, so I’d have some sweet playlists too.


A Raines Law Room original, crafted by Jeremy James Thompson.

  • Mist Pernod Absinthe
  • 2 dashes Peychaud bitters
  • 1 ounce Rammazzotti Amaro
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • 1 ounce Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
  1. Mist inside of a mixing glass with absinthe.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist.