Moves. Anderson Stockdale is now behind the stick at Cane & Table; Crystal Pavlas has moved to Dominique’s on Magazine; these days, you’ll also find Steve Yamada at Bar R’evolution.
Guapísimo! Keife & Co., as well as Dorignac’s, now stock Scot Mattox’ line of El Guapo Bitters; also order them directly from elguapobitters.com.
Ways to savor a Coup de Grâce, and other drinks, from Apolline. A sailor walked up to Apolline’s bar, looking to provision his crew for a regatta. No problem for bartender Mark Schettler, who batched a dozen Sailors Take Warning cocktails (black rum, darkly ginger Snap, brown sugar) and added a bundle of lime wheels to go. While you’ll mostly enjoy Mark’s drinks at the bar or in the dining room, here are a few occasions where you might similarly make your drinks portable, based on Mark’s adventurous new list:
Football tailgate. The Coup de Grâce opens up as it sits, so the smoked orange juice will bloom on the nose while you’re watching the Saints or Tigers battle on. Likewise, this is an aggressive drink – the juice is anchored by bold Batavia arrack (a spirit made from sugar and red rice) and bittersweet vermouth, rounded by the Bitter Truth’s E**X**R, a lush, woody liqueur.
- Jury duty? Stay awake On the Courthouse Lawn, an appealing blend of applejack brandy, peach juice, and cold brew coffee (featuring grounds from micro-roaster French Truck).
- Picnic. Fresh-muddled green apples lend themselves to fall picnics; in Little Victories, Mark blends their juices with tequila and his own coconut-almond tea syrup.
- Marriage proposal. Many drinks lists include a baller cocktail, an extravagance based on top-shelf ingredients and a bit of swagger, and made for a very special night. Here, that’s The V.C.C., showcasing a rare cognac made entirely from Grand Champagne grapes, and joined in holy matrimony by a small-batch rye and sweet vermouth.
- Moving day. If you need a nip to get you through, consider the One Way Ticket – aged rum, Mark’s limoncello, sherry and allspice dram.
- Southern Decadence. It’s a year away, but the Tin Man’s Axe (gin, wormwood-infused and pine liqueurs) would bring a botanical beauty to Bourbon Street.
Winter daiquiri kicks off Sylvain’s new list. “Wintry, dark sipping drinks” anchor Sylvain’s latest cocktail menu, says barman Darrin Ylisto. That means lots of rye and bourbon, and a Calvados twist on the Sazerac. The exception is a daiquiri, which landed on Sylvain’s list just as we transitioned into long sleeves.
The classic recipe is typically a bright shake of rum, lime juice and simple syrup. For his own variation, though, Darrin adds seasonal elements to the daiquiri: He starts with sultry, aged Angostura rum brimming with burnt sugar notes, and pairs it with the intriguing Elixer Combier, a high-end triple sec deepened with Christmas spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom) and earthy saffron. The rich citrus-cinnamon elixir is a perfect match for such a lush rum.
To sweeten his winter daiquiri, Darrin goes beyond simple sugar – he uses molasses-touched demerara syrup, and ginger syrup for heat. Lime juice adds pleasing acidity, and a single drop of Angostura bitters makes for a moderately dry finish.
Darrin (who also happens to be a Level 1 sommelier) calls it Police and Thieves, named for a reggae song, from a place where it’s perpetually summer.
That other Brazilian cocktail. Given Mizado Cocina’s broad Latin American scope, their menus are pleasingly focused. On the drinks side, you’ll find variations of regional classics like the margarita, mojito and caipirinha (here, flavored with purées made from peaches or yuzu, in a nod to Peru’s Japanese population).
Like the caipirinha, the exotic batida is a popular Brazilian drink based on cachaça, their domestic distillate made from fermented sugarcane juice. The batida is also sweetened with fruit (in Brazil, that might mean cupuaçu from the rain forest, or the prickly local soursop), and it’s often thickened with cashew juice, coconut milk, condensed milk or sour cream.
Mizado Cocina’s version of the batida pairs Leblon’s cachaça (smoothed out from a short stint in Cognac barrels) with Bols Yogurt liqueur, fresh blueberry purée and lime juice. The yogurt liqueur is genius, because it adds a tangy sourness and clarity to this already full-bodied drink, without making it a milkshake. And it’s potent! This is no dainty dessert drink.
Further down the menu, tequila and mezcal fans will find lots of options in terms of terroir, brand and serving styles. It’s well worth it to try Mizado Cocina’s own private label reposado tequila, handcrafted by Herradura and double barrel aged. The tequila arrives smooth and delicate, with toasted banana and pineapple notes.
You could try it in a premium margarita ($15), but I found it so agreeable that I’d rather sip it neat (and there are few tequilas I enjoy that way – Don Julio’s añejos, maybe).
Whichever tequila is in your glass, line it up with snifters of lime juice and sangrita (a citrus-chipotle palate cleanser) for the colors of the Mexican flag, or bandera.
“Pukka” drinks, stories at The Social. The stories were English-accented, set in a port city on the Northern coast: about a little boy jostling with coal miners, dock workers and ship builders at the local pub; the child peeking into the “snug” cubby where women drank alone, then hauling home bottled beers for his aunts and uncles.
I learned about life in Newcastle, U.K. at Gravier Street Social, a private club in the boutique Loft 523 hotel (off the lobby, where Le Phare used to be).
The Social, as it’s called, opened late last month with an English-themed lounge (music, decor, art) – and a bar that weaves in British traditions and tastes (and slang – “pukka” means “very good”).
The cocktail list, written by Amy Bissell (also The Social’s bar and events manager) showcases British beers, ciders and spirits like Jensen’s dry gin, and tea is threaded through several drinks: in the fragrant, easy Jasmine Gin Fizz; citrus-spiced Trade Winds; and lively, lush Dorian’s Grey, pairing tea-infused vodka, honey and ginger beer.
Another specialty cocktail is Tall, Dark and British, an alluring match of vanilla vodka and Newcastle’s Dandelion & Burdock, a type of root beer with notes of candied anise, to which Amy adds salt for sharpness.
Together with Benedictine, it’s a long drink of beautiful depth.
From the list of traditional British drinks, be sure to try the Pimm’s Social, given a gentle sour twist with cardoon-infused Cardamaro.
Memberships at The Social run from $175 – $275 a year, and include near 24/7 access to the lounge, and to private arts and entertainment events. And hopefully, more stories from across the pond.
Chris Hannah walked into a Cuban bar...and made a Sloppy Joe. No, not the meaty sandwich, but the vintage Cuban cocktail. As early as 1931, the drink was claimed by its namesake bar in Sloppy Joe’s Bar Cocktails Manual; back then, it was a shake of cognac, port and citrus. The recipe has since evolved to showcase rum, the island nation’s spirit of choice.
Chris Hannah and his Miami-based buddies were recently in Cuba on research visas, part of a new wave of tourism that’s revived Sloppy Joe’s Bar, which had been shuttered since the mid-1960s.
In the same spot where bartenders once served Ernest Hemingway and Clark Gable, Chris was invited to make classic Cuban drinks. “It’s warmer longer [in Cuba]...so they make a great deal of frozen daiquiris and mojitos,” Chris told me. “Bars are packed with rum – mostly Havana rum – and only have a few Scotches and gins. White rum is their vodka.”
Whether you use white rum in a Sloppy Joe depends on your choice of orange liqueur.
While some modern Sloppy Joes rely on triple sec (bright and light, best paired with white spirits), Chris makes his with brandy-based orange curaçao, whose bitter orange and spiced vanilla goes especially well with darker, aged rums. Here, Chris favors the smooth and sultry El Dorado 8 year.
He finishes the Sloppy Joe with pineapple juice, a healthy dose of lime juice and punt e mes, a softly bittered red vermouth that adds juicy roundness and a dry finish.
Besides the turn behind Sloppy Joe’s Bar, another highlight of Chris’s trip was his pilgrimage to the grave of Constantino Vert, a cantinero credited with creating the frozen daiquiri. At his tomb, Chris raised a frozen daiquiri with his Cuban peers. “That was an honor to hear from [the] Cuban bartenders,” says Chris, “and that they were happy to meet me, and [liked] the idea.”