This article is part of a guide to new York by FT Globetrotter
La Rockette, by Paige Walwyn of the Clover Club
210 Smith Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201
New York is a vibrant, vibrant and resilient city. Right now, he may feel like he’s lost some of his shine, but he’s proven he can weather this storm. The cocktail industry in particular has found new ways to survive and thrive throughout the pandemic. Here at the Clover Club, we’ve quickly pivoted, offering our award-winning cocktails to take away without sacrificing quality.
So, I created a drink that represents New York’s culture of innovation, adaptation and resilience as a tribute to the original take-away cocktail, The Nutcracker – a staple of black and brown communities and still present on the beaches, city festivals and parades.
The Nutcracker was created in the early 90s through the collaboration between José Chu, a restaurant manager, and a drug dealer called “Juice”. The original cocktail was described by many as strong, sweet and tangy. For three decades, creative marketing and undercover tactics were used to sell the popular drink – it wasn’t until 2020 and during the pandemic that the sale of take-out cocktails was allowed.
When I think of New York’s cocktail scene, what comes to mind is the city’s abundance of bars and restaurants. Still, my first experience with alcoholic drinks here may be related to eating nutcrackers. These bottled drinks were synonymous with summer fun.
My cocktail is called The Rockette. It’s a blend of overproof cognac and rum, mixed in equal parts and infused with fresh strawberries for three to four days. The name pays homage to Radio City Music Hall and its famous performers, The Rockettes – a nod to their version of Nutcracker ballet, after which the inspiration for my cocktail was named.
Superheated rum and brandy were selected to base the Rockette on a traditional nutcracker, and allowing the two spirits to pair with the strawberries plays on the fun, fruity component often seen in this beloved drink. Finally, The Rockette is bound with demerara sugar of citrus and vanilla, creating a delicious and well-balanced cocktail.
Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and filter finely into a chilled coupe
The Mott & Mulberry, by Leo Robitschek from NoMad Bar
nomad hotel, 10 West 28th Street, New York, NY 10001
While most associate New York with strong, bitter, and boozy cocktails, I wanted to create something from NoMad Bar that was seasonal, delicious, and always pop. Mott & Mulberry, named after two famous Little Italy streets (that never intersect), combines quintessential city spirit, rye whiskey and New York apples to create an easy sour drink. to drink with hot spices.
Rye was the most consumed alcohol in the Big Apple during the pre-ban, so it rightfully functions as the base of our cocktail, representing the strength of New Yorkers. Amaro adds layers of bitterness and spice to symbolize New York’s diversity and advantage. Honeycrisp apples complete the cocktail and showcase the fun and ease of New York City, along with our amazing products.
Combine all the ingredients, shake and strain into a highball glass. Garnish with three fan-shaped apple slices. (To make the demerara syrup, combine equal parts demerara sugar and hot water and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring it to room temperature and refrigerate.)
Its Money, by Shannon Tebay of Death & Company
433 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10009
Manhattan, home to our East Village Death & Company bar, is such an iconic place that one of the world’s most recognizable classic cocktails bears its name. A well-made Manhattan is a reflection of the island itself: elegant, assertive and sophisticated.
The Sound of Silver is an incomparable variation of a Manhattan. Its spirit-driven nature represents the strength, courage and intensity of the city. However, the high-strength rye whiskey is coated in sweet vermouth, which softens any roughness around the edges, in a nod to New York polish and refinement.
Plus, a touch of Clear Creek Douglas Fir brandy pays homage to Central Park, one of New York’s most beloved landmarks – our nature escape right in the heart of the city. The eau de vie pairs beautifully with Black Dirt Apple Brandy, made from apples grown and distilled in New York – referring to New York’s timeless nickname, the Big Apple.
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled. Cool Nick and Nora glass and garnish with an apple slice.
Maximilian, by Masahiro Urushido from Katana Kitten
531 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
I love highballs – so much so that I created a Signature Highball list in my West Village bar, Katana Kitten. To create something that captures the spirit of New York City, this is naturally the type of drink I thought of first. With this new highball, Maximilian, I wanted to celebrate New York and my Japanese origins, reflect the city’s multiculturalism and how it is a gathering place for people from all over the world.
I chose Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old as my base, a classic scotch mix – and a favorite of American icons such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. To introduce more depth of flavor, a local whiskey, Ragtime Rye, is added for a warm and spicy note. Rather than using soda water, I added sparkling apple juice instead, which adds fuller body to the drink. To balance it out, a tablespoon of maple syrup is added to tie together the orchard character of the base whiskey.
I also included umeshu, a Japanese plum liqueur. When I was growing up in Japan it was common for every household to make their own, but at the bar I use Choya Classic. The drink is topped with freshly sliced local Fuji apples sprinkled with burnt miso.
Finally, when I’m at home I like to pair whiskey with cheese – it’s a surprisingly ideal complement. This highball is charming with the sweet, smelly character of a Brie.
This highball is poured into a chilled glass with ice and topped with carved apple (or apple slice) of burnt miso.
Never sleeps, by Sother Teague by Amor Y Amargo
445 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10009
New York has many nicknames, but the main one is “The City That Never Sleeps”. There’s always something going on in New York City, especially in the East Village, home to our Amor Y Amargo bar, and this cocktail captures that energy and curiosity.
Never Sleeps is an Old Fashioned Apple Brandy augmented with bursts of seasonal flavors from two different Amari. Laird’s floral apple brandy in neighboring New Jersey brings a strong backbone to 100 proofs. Del Capo is an orange and herbal amaro with a slight salinity, and Becherovka is a bitter cinnamon and clove native to the Czech Republic. The apples, oranges, cinnamon, and cloves are brought together, tied with a cute bitter chili allspice knot from Degroff.
Much like the Big Apple, this cocktail is invigorating enough to grab your attention, yet familiar enough to soothe what ails you. The timeless style of an Old Fashioned aligns perfectly with the classic New York aesthetic but, presented in a new way, it keeps the intrigue at the forefront: this drink just never sleeps.
Combine the ingredients in a highball glass. Add a large chunk of ice and stir gently. Express the oil with an orange twist on the drink.
At the time of posting, bars and restaurants in New York City are permitted to accommodate both indoor and outdoor guests at reduced capacity. The usual caveats apply: please check websites and hours of operation carefully, call ahead and do additional research.
What’s your favorite drink that captures the spirit of New York? Tell us in the comments
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