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Photo Courtesy of Herminio Torres, 11c & Co.

Lana abandoned graduate school to join the restaurant industry, starting in pastry and eventually moving through wine into spirits. By 2013, she was bartending at the agave-focused Empellon Cocina. After a stint at Greenwich Project, she is currently spreading her love of mezcal at Pouring Ribbons and Seamstress. She is an active member of the United States Bartending Guild (USBG) and affiliated with the Tequila Interchange Project (TIP), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Spirited Sipping (GLASS), and Ladies of American Distilling (LOAD).

The VEEV Better Way To Drink Bartender Challenge?

It was fun to have a chance to experiment with VEEV and to think about what it meant to “drink better,” and the different ways that could be expressed in a cocktail.

What does “drinking better” mean to you?

Drinking better means going beyond using quality ingredients in thoughtful drinks- it also means supporting companies that give back, either through environmental awareness or social activism. It can also mean considering the health aspects of what is often considered an unhealthy pursuit and making choices that support a balanced life.

Advice you’d give bartenders wanting to mix with VEEV?

I would say to be creative- don’t just use it as a vodka substitute. Its berry qualities can actually go quite well with earthy components as well as herbal/vegetal ones, and it was surprisingly flexible in combination with sherry. It also has a lot of body, which can fill out a cocktail that might otherwise be thin.

Describe VEEV.

Fruity, bold, clean.


Playing Doctor

Recipe by Lana Gailani


1 1/2 oz. VEEV

1 Orange Slice

1 Lemon Slice

1/4 oz. Genmaicha Green Tea Syrup

1/4 oz. Honey Syrup

3/4 oz Lemon Juice

3/4 oz. Lustau Amontillado Sherry

3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters


Combine orange and lemon slices with tea and honey syrups in shaker; muddle. Add lemon juice, sherry, and VEEV, shake and strain over crushed ice into collins glass. Top with 3 dashes peychaud’s bitters. Garnish.

Tea Syrup: steep 5 tea bags genmaicha tea (possible brands include: Harney and Sons, Tao of Tea, Numi) in 12 oz. hot water for 6 minutes. Remove tea bags and measure water, then add an equal amount of white sugar.

Honey Syrup: 1:1 syrup with light honey (clover or wildflower; local if possible).


Orange and Lemon Slice, Raspberry, Mint Sprig


Pilsner (Collins if unavailable)


In keeping with the theme “drinking better”, I wanted to create a cocktail that was restorative, refreshing, and lower in alcohol content. For this reason I chose to work with the template of a sherry cobbler, and included additional ingredients with known health properties- green tea and honey. Tea, honey, and lemon are a combination that is both comforting and familiar.

This cocktail is loaded with anti-oxidants, and if you use local honey it can help fight allergies as well. Some research indicates that sherries offer some of the same health benefits as red wine (decrease in cholesterol levels, increase in the proportion of “good” cholesterol”). So, truly, drink to your health!

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