Friday, December 12, 2008
I love trying out new restaurants and bars, so for my birthday last week my friends took me somewhere I’d never been for celebratory drinks. Hidden in the depths of SoHo at 525 Broome Street near Thompson, TAILOR features a fabulous cocktail lounge that is not for tourists. Inside the huge unmarked wooden door, pass by the restaurant upstairs and head to the bridge-like staircase that leads to the spacious lounge downstairs. The lighting is dark, the décor is sparse and the clientele is very New York – but the real treat is the cocktail menu.
I find that when most bars or restaurants offer “specialty cocktails,” it means they’ve taken whatever flavors of god-awful Pucker they can find, mixed it with cheap vodka, and poof: a Crap-tini. Tailor puts those places to shame, combining fresh seasonal ingredients with some serious innovation.
We sampled numerous specialties that night, which included:
Brown butter rum, clove, and poire (a French pear liqueur).
Rum, butternut squash, and falernum (a sugar-cane based spirit).
Burbon and smoked coke (coca-cola literally cooked in the same way a chef would prepare a smoked salmon, for example.)
Vodka, bubblegum cordial, sour (tasted like bubble gum with a kick – amazing.)
But the real treat were the Solids. These were edible cocktails, each served in a unique way (though the preparation is not described on the menu). I ordered them, and for $15 got to pick three out of five choices. I chose the Absinthe, the Cuba Libra, and the White Russian. I wasn’t prepared for what arrived on my plate. The Absinthe was literally two green gummy bears. Looking at them I didn’t believe they had any alcohol in them at all, but tasting them, hello green fairies! The Cuba Libra was basically a cube of rum jello on candied lime, also delicious. But the piece de resistance was clearly the White Russian: a tiny bowl of Kahula rice krispies soaked in vodka milk. It was the best thing I’d put in my mouth for weeks, and that’s saying a lot.