Holy Joe Cocktail

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For each year’s Imbibe 75 issue, our editors consider places around the world to determine the top up-and-coming drinks destinations. One region we kept hearing about in 2016? Northwest Arkansas, including the communities of Bentonville, Rogers and Fayetteville. Bentonville—home base for retail giant Wal-Mart—is also home to a 21C Museum Hotel and its eye-catching restaurant, The Hive. We asked beverage manager John Robinson why Arkansas should be on everyone’s must-eat-and-drink list. “We have farms in the area that have been in the same families for generations, and they’re crating awesome products that are easily accessible to us,” Robinson says. “It’s a smaller market, and there aren’t a lot of people doing it, but they do it very well.”

At The Hive, Robinson prepares drinks for well-traveled guests who may be coming to Bentonville on business, while also keeping things approachable for newcomers to the cocktail scene—often resulting in simple-yet-complex cocktails such as the Holy Joe. “We have people who are into the cocktail scene in New York and L.A., and we have people who don’t know what’s happening with cocktails,” he says. “We try to showcase great-quality ingredients—amari, fortified wines, liqueurs—and pair them with familiar seasonal flavors that will jump off the page to people. That gets their foot in the door to seeing what this whole cocktail thing is about.”

1½ oz. Irish whiskey (The Hive uses Jameson)
¾ oz. sweet vermouth
½ oz. apricot liqueur
¼ oz. Cynar
Tools: barspoon, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: lemon peel

Stir all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Twist a lemon peel over drink and use as garnish.

John Robinson, The Hive, Bentonville, Arkansas