I see the future, and it's a brilliant ball of ice.
At least that's how it looked from my bar stool the other night at Doris Metropolitan, when I was handed an Old-Fashioned with a new-age, molecular twist.
Here, the drink's modifiers (three types of bitters) are frozen into a voluptuous sphere, along with two maraschino cherries, an orange peel, and a stirrer.
(I have a guess as to the sweetener, but some things - like the future - are best left a mystery.)
The ice sculpture goes in a dry lowball glass, followed by two ounces of your favorite spirit (I asked for fruity, high-proof Hudson Manhattan rye).
As the sphere melts, it releases a slow citrus bloom and unspools the orange peel and cherries, all of which add a pleasing complexity to the whiskey.
Even as I approached the last of the Future Ball (an hour later), my drink was still chilled and potent.
If you finish your own drink before the ball's melted, add sweet vermouth and another shot of either rye or bourbon (for an upcharge) to shift into a Manhattan.
The man behind this method at Doris is bartender Nicholas Maziejka, who's also a sculptor and painter (see his work, including whimsical Mardi Gras masks, here).
Like Nick's Old-Fashioned, the other specialty cocktails at Doris are classics with a twist.
I especially want to try their Bee's Knees variation, which switches out gin for an Islay single malt and rosemary, and the Sangre Fria, a port-based sangria with tequila, ginger syrup and fresh mint.
And in the spring, Future Ball will morph again, this time into a honeysuckle-lemon-violet sphere, to which Nick will add gin.
Doris Metropolitan, 620 Chartres Street, 267.3500
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