Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Three's a Charm

I visited the Silverleaf Tavern at 38th and Park the other day. Dale DeGroff had a hand in the cocktail list, so I thought it was worth a try.

I was having a hard time choosing my cocktail. The Silver Leaf Manhattan intrigued me, even if it was made with bourbon and not rye. And the traditionalist in me cried out for the Stork Club Cocktail. I mean, at how many bars can I order that? And then I saw the answer to all my problems: a flight of three cocktails for just $18. Just like flights of wines. Why hadn't I heard of this before?

One problem: the choice of the three was up to the discretion of the bartender, not me, and I still wanted my Stork Club and my Manhattan. But I was in luck, because my bartender was a mindreader. He selected just those two drinks. The third was a tequila based thing which he called Formula No. 4, or something like that, and insisted was on the menu. (It wasn't.) Each was served in a miniature glass.

Funny—I liked the wild card best. Wish I had paid attention when he told me the ingredients. Lime juice, Cointreau and something else, along with the tequila. Piquant and refreshing. The Stork Club and Silver Leaf Manhattan both had something going for them. But the Stork I found a tad too tart and strident, with it mix of gin, orange bitters, Cointreau and fresh Orange juice. I have a feeling that the oranges were underripe. As for the Manhattan, DeGroff had been infusion crazy on this one. The Woodford Reserve Bourbon was infused with vanilla beans and the sweet vermouth infused with chai and brandied cherries. (No really cherries were employed.) The result was interesting, but too much on the woodsy side, like the mix had been aged in root-infested soil before arriving in my glass.

The flight in and of itself, however, was undeniable fun.

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