Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Finding Cocktailians in Non-Cocktailian Settings


Chris Amirault
 Share

Recommended Posts

Every now and then my wife and I find an apartment via craigslist, drop the kids off with my parents, and head down to NYC for a day or two of, well, not much: wandering around, hitting stores and museums, eating wherever we find ourselves. This trip we were staying in a flat on 5th Av in Park Slope Brooklyn, and for dinner on Saturday night we decided to try Coco Roco, a Peruvian restaurant at 392 5th between 6th and 7th. Like virtually every place in the five boroughs, there was a cocktail menu, and somewhere below the Mojito I found a Pisco Sour.

What the hell, I thought, and ordered it. I was sitting with my back to the wall and facing the young bartender (probably college age), so I got to watch the entire procedure unfold. His precision was a thing to behold: separating the egg using the shell halves; squeezing the lemon and pouring the pisco; adding some sugar and bitters; the vigorous, lengthy shake; the pour into a chilled glass and -- to my great surprise -- a taste using a cocktail straw and index finger. He looked to the sky while he lifted his finger from the straw and tasted the drink, nodded, and handed it to our waiter.

It was fantastic.

After the dinner, I went up to him to chat a bit. It was clear that no one in the history of the place had ever complimented his bartending chops, and I realized that this sort of fellow, toiling away in the back of a restaurant not known for such things, might just be building a little, secret cocktail mecca.

Does anyone else have pleasant discoveries of this sort?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd actually have to say that I'd sorta *expect* the bartender at a place like Coco Roco to turn out a credible pisco sour, given the drink's origins and the fact that the place is a true-blue quality Peruvian restaurant. It's sort of like going to a charming, authentic little bistro and realizing that the proprietor has strong and informed opinions about his wines and brandies.

That said (probably overly harsh), I'd say that I've had luck at Mas on Downing St in Manhattan (which, being a little country French nook, I expected to have a decent wine list but hardly anything in the way of cocktails, and much less so a knowledgeable, talented bartender), and 5 Ninth (also Manhattan), which is entirely too trendy and silly a place to really require a good bartender.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd actually have to say that I'd sorta *expect* the bartender at a place like Coco Roco to turn out a credible pisco sour, given the drink's origins and the fact that the place is a true-blue quality Peruvian restaurant. It's sort of like going to a charming, authentic little bistro and realizing that the proprietor has strong and informed opinions about his wines and brandies.

Not overly harsh at all -- and a good point. Still and all, he was the first bartender I've seen check the balance of a drink in years -- save at Pegu Club.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every now and then my wife and I find an apartment via craigslist, drop the kids off with my parents, and head down to NYC for a day or two of, well, not much: wandering around, hitting stores and museums, eating wherever we find ourselves. This trip we were staying in a flat on 5th Av in Park Slope Brooklyn, and for dinner on Saturday night we decided to try Coco Roco, a Peruvian restaurant at 392 5th between 6th and 7th. Like virtually every place in the five boroughs, there was a cocktail menu, and somewhere below the Mojito I found a Pisco Sour.

What the hell, I thought, and ordered it. I was sitting with my back to the wall and facing the young bartender (probably college age), so I got to watch the entire procedure unfold. His precision was a thing to behold: separating the egg using the shell halves; squeezing the lemon and pouring the pisco; adding some sugar and bitters; the vigorous, lengthy shake; the pour into a chilled glass and -- to my great surprise -- a taste using a cocktail straw and index finger. He looked to the sky while he lifted his finger from the straw and tasted the drink, nodded, and handed it to our waiter.

It was fantastic.

After the dinner, I went up to him to chat a bit. It was clear that no one in the history of the place had ever complimented his bartending chops, and I realized that this sort of fellow, toiling away in the back of a restaurant not known for such things, might just be building a little, secret cocktail mecca.

Does anyone else have pleasant discoveries of this sort?

to second Mayur, I wouldn't assume he could make anything well besides a Pisco Sour...it is their national drink. though it still sounds promising as even Peruvian restaurants mess that drink up. heh, a friend of mine recently got back from Peru...I was making drinks in my home bar and asked her if she wanted a Pisco Sour. "that drink is awful! they kept making it in Peru and it was awful!" I then, of course, had to make her one. "This doesn't taste anything like what I had...."

who knows? still, something to keep in mind if one is in the area...(and if he can make a good Pisco Bellringer....)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... and 5 Ninth (also Manhattan), which is entirely too trendy and silly a place to really require a good bartender.

Well, one would hope they continue to keep talented bartenders, since the highly-esteemed Dave Wondrich hisownself developed the cocktail menu.

Christopher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, I need to check Coco Roco out. Especially since it is so close to my house. I didn't know they made pisco sours there.

John

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

We have all sorts of threads around here discussing great "cocktailian" bars, i.e. places where you are basically assured a good drink. Here in State College, PA, bars serve crappy beer, crappier beer, and booze that if consumed in enough quantity makes said crappy beer taste "good". In other words, no place to get a good cocktail except at home.

BUT WAIT! Last night I went to the local Olive Garden (for shame, I know, I know...). There was a wait so we grabbed a seat at the bar. Now, I admit that I actually go there pretty regularly because I like the bartender there - he's a nice guy, and my wife likes his Tom Collins'. I generally order a martini because I like olives :smile: . But last night, I ordered a Manhattan. Things start out well, with two healthy dashes of Angostura. But then he free-pours from the bottle of Maker's Mark (no spout, just the regular opening), which makes me a little nervous. I mean, come on, it's the Olive Garden! Same with the vermouth. But THEN! he gets out a spoon and stirs the thing. Holy crap. Now I'm excited... and sure enough, when it arrives, crystal clear and perfectly chilled, it is fantastic.

Anyone else end up with a good cocktail someplace where you would ordinarily convince yourself to order a beer, just to be on the safe side?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...