Stirring Up Spirits 

We asked five local bartenders to create original cocktails commemorating fascinating moments in Richmond's past. Here's what they came up with.

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In Case of Emergency

Created by Bobby Kruger of Julep's

After the Church Hill railroad collapse in 1925, the story is told of a blood-covered creature with jagged teeth and skin hanging from its muscular body that emerged from the cave-in and raced toward the James River. Pursued by a group of men, the creature took refuge in Hollywood Cemetery, where it disappeared in a mausoleum built into a hillside bearing the name W.W. Pool. It is said that the Richmond Vampire is what emerged from the wreckage. Later it was speculated to be a badly mutilated railroad fireman. No one seems sure about either theory.

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1½ ounces Hendrick's Gin

¼ ounce Green Chartreuse

¼ ounce Canton Ginger Liqueur

¾ ounce roasted garlic simple syrup

½ ounce fresh lime juice

2 dashes sunlight bitters (cardamom, saffron and turmeric-based bitters aged in constant sunlight for two weeks)

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Stars and Bars

Created by Chris Simons of Lemaire

"Lee has arrived, and our hopes are high that we will wipe them clean out this time. Lee has an army great in numbers and spirit, and I believe he will wield it greatly. He is silent, inscrutable, strong, like a god." — Lt. John H. Chamberlayne, Virginia Artillery, CSA, Aug. 15, 1862

Said shortly after Gen. Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from Richmond and into a retreat down the Virginia Peninsula, suffering more than 20,000 casualties compared with approximately 16,000 suffered by the Union.


2 ounces Sazerac 6th Rye

¼ ounce Plymouth Sloe Gin

¼ ounce house-made limeade

¼ ounce star anise and white pepper syrup

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General 25

Created by Sean Rapoza of Balliceaux

"The name of the cocktail is both a play on the French 75 and a reference to the number of Confederate generals buried in Hollywood Cemetery. The cocktail is an adaptation of a mint julep meets a bourbon and ginger. A twist on both a classic Southern cocktail and a modern standard for Richmond." — Sean Rapoza


2 ounces Makers Mark bourbon

1 ounce Canton Ginger Liqueur

½ ounce simple syrup

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

5-7 lemon verbena leaves, plus a sprig for garnish

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The Tyrant

Ben Petty of Tarrant's Café

"Give me liberty or give me death."

The oft-repeated quotation is frequently attributed to Patrick Henry and to the famous speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention at St. John's Church in Richmond on March 23, 1775. Whether or not Henry said these exact words is disputed, but what's certain is that he helped to rally the delegates — a crowd that included Thomas Jefferson and George Washington — to action. The troops of Virginia soon were off to face the British tyrants.


1½ ounces Espolon Blanco

½ ounce Pama liqueur

¼ ounce pomegranate molasses

Juice of 1 lime

2 twists on a pepper grinder

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Shockoe Hill Cat

Created by Steven Ogburne of Amuse

"These two gangs, the Shockoe Hill cats and the Butchertown cats, used to fight for the possession of the flats at the foot of the hill. The Butchertown boys said it was theirs, because the territory was not on the hill; while the Shockoe Hill boys contended that it was theirs because it was on their side of the creek; which are arguments as sound as those that are used by the most powerful nations of Europe." — as recalled by Charles M. Wallace in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

The story goes that these two Civil War-era juvenile street gangs used to fight over territory in downtown Richmond. Confederate President Jefferson Davis's two boys were said to be members of the Shockoe Hill Cats.

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2 halved kumquats

2 dashes Angostura orange bitters

½ ounce cardamom, cinnamon and brown-sugar syrup

Muddle these items.

2 ounces Sazerac Rye Whiskey

¼ ounce fresh lime juice

Shake and roll into Collins glass. Garnish with something green and spear a kumquat with something such as tarragon.

Now Serving
Want to taste? Quench your thirst for history by visiting any of these establishments by July Fourth, where you can order up one of their bartenders' original cocktails.


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