Behind the Bar

The Story Behind Charleston Cocktail Club's Most Popular Drink

Bright yellow cocktail in a coupe glass
More than 40,000 Double Standards have been ordered at the Charleston Cocktail Club.

The Double Standard might be the best-selling drink (more than 40,000 have been ordered) at Charleston's Cocktail Club, but we couldn't help but wonder how the beloved cocktail got its name. So, we sat down with Steve Palmer, founder of The Cocktail Club and its parent restaurant group, The Indigo Road, to get the scoop. Just like any good cocktail, the backstory is complex—with hints of romance, rules and rebellion.

Below, Steve himself gives us the scoop on how he named his most successful drink:

I broke the golden rule — I started dating Jasmine, who was a bartender at one of my restaurants, O-Ku. It was right around the time I’d found the building where we knew were going to put the restaurant, Macintosh, downstairs. We didn’t know what we wanted in the upstairs space, but I wanted to do a cocktail bar because Charleston didn’t have any great ones at the time. The space was perfect for it — it had old fireplaces and screamed speakeasy.

I started telling Jasmine about the idea of what eventually became The Cocktail Club. She is a really talented mixologist and she reminds me of a chef in the way she works — she mixes spicy with savory, acidity with sweetness.

In February 2011, we were in San Francisco together on our way to Bourbon & Branch, an amazing cocktail bar. We’d only been dating six or so months, but Jasmine is a pretty assertive, big-energy kind of girl who’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks. She definitely likes to point out the ways in which I can be a better boyfriend, but she doesn’t always like to receive feedback on how she can be a better girlfriend. She would say to me, “Well, honey, I’d appreciate if you would listen to my music instead of yours.” And I have learned that I am to receive that info, but not give any back.

We were driving along The Embarcadero when I turned to her and said, “You know, babe, you’ve got a lot of rules for me.” Jasmine said, “Yeah, what’s your point?” I laughed and said, “But I’m not allowed to give you any rules. This is really a double standard.” She told me every woman has double standards — and then she said we should make a drink with that name.

We opened The Cocktail Club that summer, and Jasmine worked on creating The Double Standard. It’s made with cucumber-infused vodka and Serrano-infused gin, and there’s celery bitters, lime juice and cilantro. The vodka gives it a cool, refreshing taste, while you also get the spiciness of the heat from the Serrano. It’s cool up front and spicy on the back. Not unlike Jasmine herself.

—As told by Steve Palmer

Yellow cocktail in a coupe glassCucumber, cilantro, serrano and ginger all make up the cool and spicy profile of the Charleston Cocktail Club's most popular drink.

The Double Standard (The Cocktail Club, Charleston SC)

  • 1 oz Serrano infused gin
  • 1 oz Cucumber Infused vodka
  • .75 oz house made ginger simple syrup
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • Muddled Cilantro
  • 2 dashes celery bitters

Combine all ingredients into a shaker tin. Shake well over ice. Serve up in a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with cilantro leaf and a slice of serrano pepper.

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