Monday, November 24, 2008
Don't Like the Show? Have a Drink!
The cocktail revolution has found its way into every nook and cranny of New York culture. Proof? Go to a play at any of the city's major nonprofit theatres and what will you find at the concession stand, along with the beer, bottled water, gourmet cookies and candy? Custom cocktails.
One company has the corner on this weird niche industry. It's Sweet Concessions, founded by Julie Rose, and assisted by mixologist Brett Stasiewicz. The outfit services Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Roundabout Theatre Company and other theatres around town.
Go to MTC's Biltmore Theatre and you'll find cocktails names after Richard III and Othello—odd, since MTC never does Shakespeare. And at the Roundabout's recent revival of the period drama "A Man for All Seasons," you could order drinks called Master Cromwell, Thomas Moore, Henry VIII and Cardinal Woolsey. Historical figures! Yum!
The Thomas Moore is composed of gin, apricot brandy, rosemary-mint-infused lime juice and tonic. The Henry VIII is pear vodka, amaretto, "ginger and apple" (huh?) and sparkling wine. All the drinks are on display, like sample sandwiches at a deli, and, like those sandwiches, they don't look very appetizing after sitting around in the elements for a couple hours.
It's all very amusing and kind of inventive, in a kitschy way, but I wish the cocktails were created with as much talent and taste as are the stageworks. Stasiewicz leans heavily on the flavored liquor. Every kind of flavored vodka you can think of serve as the base of most of these drinks, with flavored schnapps substituting on occasion, and gin and rum making only occasional appearances. Other easy flavor-spikers like sparking wine and lemon-lime soda are also employed. And he seems to be drunk on achieving color effects. Look at this recipe for "The Light in the Piazza."
THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA
2 ounces citron vodka
1 ounce limoncello liqueur
1 teaspoon superfine sugar, plus more for rimming the glass
a dash of lemon juice (optional)
1 ounce sparkling wine
1 thin slice of lemon
Citron vodka, limoncello and lemon juice. And lemon slice! Talk about beating a theme into the ground. And vodka for a musical set in Italy?
Then there's this for "Mary Poppins":
(No measurements given)
Again vodka. Now, wouldn't Mary Poppins drink—if she drank—gin and nothing but gin? And would she ever touch her proper lips to anything as trashy as Peach Schnapps? I ask you.