I had the pleasure of recently attending a private event at Harding’s, a warm and welcoming bar and restaurant just south of Madison Square Park on 21st Street between Broadway and Park Avenue in New York City.  The event was sponsored by South Dakota Tourism, and Harding’s provided the perfect back drop for learning more about the “Great 8” of South Dakota.

When I think about South Dakota, the first thing that comes to mind is Mount Rushmore.   After all, it is commonly known as the Mount Rushmore State. However, there is so much more to South Dakota than just the iconic national memorial.  In fact, there are 8 great reasons to visit!  The Great 8 attractions include Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Wild West historic town of Deadwood, Jewel Cave, the Missouri River, Wind Cave, and Custer State Park where the buffalo roam.

If all the talk about pow-wows and bison round-ups wasn’t enough to inspire me to visit soon, Harding’s specialty drinks designed just for the event would certainly do it.  Harding’s Head Bartender, Derrick Turner, created 3 summer cocktails inspired by South Dakota:  the Mount Rushmore Martini, the Deadwood Straight, and the Badlands Sunrise.

It’s no surprise that these drinks were delicious and perfectly crafted, as Derrick was recently named one of Time Out New York’s Top Ten Best Bartenders in New York City for 2015.  I’m now inspired not only to visit South Dakota but to visit Harding’s again to try some more of Derrick’s creative cocktails.

hardingsHarding’s was nice enough to share Derrick’s South Dakota inspired cocktail recipes with me.  I have no doubt you’ll feel inspired to visit South Dakota (or Harding’s) after sipping a few of these.  My personal favorite is the Mount Rushmore Martini.


Mount Rushmore Martini

– ¼ oz Fresh Lime Juice
– ½ oz Lavender Simple Syrup
– 2 oz Gin

Fill mixing glass with ice. Add all three ingredients, and then stir to combine and chill. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.


The Deadwood Straight

– 1 Sugar Cube
– 3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
– ¼ oz Sweet Vermouth
– ¼ oz Campari
– 2 oz Bourbon
– Bourbon (or Brandy) Soaked Cherry, for garnish

Soak the sugar cube with the bitters, then muddle until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients.  Add ice and stir until fully incorporated and chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube and serve with the macerated cherry. 


Badlands Sunrise

– ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
– ½ oz Simple Syrup
– 1 ½ oz White Rum
– 3 Basil Leaves
– ¼ oz Cherry Juice

Fill shaker tin with ice. Add all ingredients other than the cherry juice.  Lock on the shaker top shake to combine and chill thoroughly. Double-strain through a Hawthorne strainer and fine strainer into a chilled coupe glass. Carefully float the cherry juice on top. 

© 2015, Tripping Blonde.

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