Here is a cocktail worth missing your flight over.

This sophisticated sherry based stirred cocktail was invented by Tiffanie Barriere at One Flew South, a bar that made layovers fun again in the Atlanta International Airport. Named afeter the Cotton Club band leader in the 1940s and inspired by the jazz clubs of its time, here is the whole story on the Cab Calloway, and how to make it in this excerpt from Signature Cocktails by Amanda Schuster.

Excerpted from Signature Cocktails © 2023 by Amanda Schuster. Photography © 2023 by Andy Sewell. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.


YEAR: 2008
ORIGIN: Atlanta, USA
INVENTOR: Tiffanie Barriere
PREMISES: One Flew South

By the time the One Flew South restaurant opened in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport in December 2008, the golden age of commercial plane travel—described as “cocktail parties on wings”—was a thing of the past, and travelers, especially in American airports, had come to expect mediocre food and drink offerings. However, this restaurant, in Concourse E of one of the world’s busiest hubs, sought to revive the high-end airport dining experience with top-notch regional Southern cuisine and terrific cocktails to match. When Tiffanie Barriere took over the bar program a couple of years after the venue opened, signature cocktails such as her Cab Calloway were deemed destination-worthy. Suddenly travelers wanted to be stranded in Atlanta, if only to have more time at One Flew South than just a flyover.

The Cab Calloway cocktail is named for the legendary showman and Cotton Club band leader of the 1920s through to the late 1940s, who famously toured the Jim Crow South on charter train. He was one of the most recognizable and well-educated jazz performers of his day (he attended law school in Chicago), with hits such as “Minnie the Moocher” and “The Ghost of Smoky Joe” sprinkled with his trademark “hi-de-ho” scat singing.

Barriere’s tribute cocktail is a stirred, boozy number combining dark sherry, rye whiskey, apricot liqueur, dry vermouth, and bitters. It’s the sort of drink one could imagine sipping in a smoky jazz club. However, even if sipping one while waiting for that connecting flight to finally be announced instead, the Cab Calloway cocktail’s comforting flavor profile feels like a first-class upgrade. Sure beats a sad Martini with mushy olives.

• 11/2 oz (45 ml) Pedro Ximenez (PX) or sweet Oloroso sherry
• 1/2 oz (15 ml) rye whiskey
• 1/4 oz (7 ml) dry vermouth
• 1/4 oz (7 ml) apricot liqueur
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• 2 dashes orange bitters
• Garnish: lemon or orange peel (or both!)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Express the oils from the citrus peel over the drink, skin side down, then twist and add to the glass.

Amanda Schuster is a freelance writer with over 15 years’ industry experience covering wine, spirits, cocktails and occasionally things you eat with those things. She is a freelance writer, beverage consultant, and the author of New York Cocktails and Drink Like a Local New York: A Field Guide to New York’s Best Bars from Cider Mill Press. She also authored Signature Cocktails by Phaidon Press. With advanced training in both wine and spirits, Amanda likes to think of herself as bi-spiritual.