Shift Drink: Shawn Lickliter, République

A barman with a penchant for an honest whiskey

Welcome to Shift Drink, where we take a peek into the post-shift drinking habits of L.A.’s finest food and drink personalities.

Shawn Lickliter, a Tennessee native, became captivated by whiskey while working part-time in a wine-and-spirits shop. An accidental passion formed as did the foundation for a career in cocktails. After landing in L.A., Shawn spent four years leading the bar team at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Beverly Hills and most recently became République’s Bar Program Director. Echoing Chef Walter Manzke’s approach to food, Shawn creates fresh cocktails inspired by seasonal ingredients and looks for new ways to reinvent old classics.

Shawn’s love of whiskey remains, and it tends to be his preferred drink of choice. Read on to discover the cocktail that does the trick after a long night and how you can make it at home.

What’s your shift drink?

“It’s super difficult for me to get out of ‘work mode’ after a shift, and if I don’t find myself in an R&D blackhole, I’ll turn to a good whiskey. It just brings me back to Earth. My muses are Sazerac 18yr old Rye and William Larue Weller Bourbon from the Antique Collection. Some of my favorite memories were shared over those bottlings. Unfortunately, they are not that easy to come by. Lately, I’ve been hooked on a good Improved Whiskey Cocktail. It’s simple like an old fashioned, but after a busy evening of making cocktails, it’s honest and does the trick.”

Improved Whiskey Cocktail
2oz Rittenhouse Rye
.25oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Demerara sugar cube
Kubler Absinthe

Muddle sugar cube and bitters in an Absinthe-rinsed rocks glass. Add Rye, Maraschino, and ice. Stir to chill. Finish with a lemon peel.