Friday, December 4, 2009

The Situation at Summit

The new East Village cocktail bar Summit has gotten a lot of press in the few months it's been open. I'm going to give it a little more.

I paid my first visit a few days ago and was waited upon by owner Greg Seider himself, a friendly fellow with a laid-back mein who eschews arm garters and vests for a white t-shirt. The debut menu was still be handed out to customers, but Greg informed me that the winter menu would be unveiled the next night. Though I was a day early, he gave me a sneak sip of two coming attractions. I am writing this post because one of the drinks was incredibly good, simply one of the best new cocktails I've had all year.

It's called, queerly enough, the Situation, and one could be in worse situations. It sits upon a base of raisin-infused Rittenhouse rye. To that is added caraway seed-infused agave syrup. (Seider swears by agave as his sweetener of choice.), lemon juice, Fee's whiskey barrel bitters, and a combo of Fee's and Regan's orange bitters. It's shaken and poured over ice. To this frothy end are added a sprinkling of rye-saturated golden raisins, which makes for a nice little dessert at the bottom of the glass.

Now think about those ingredients: rye, caraway seeds, raisins. What do they remind you of? That's right. Raisin rye bread. That's the idea Seider began with. Not that the drink tastes like something you want to wrap around a piece of pastrami. But it's an ideal, warming winter drink. It's goes down like a dream, no flavor out of place. Seider admitted is was one of the favorite drinks he had ever come up with.

The other drink was called She Loves Me, She Loves Me not. Unsurprisingly, rose petals play a part. They're muddled into the Pisco-based cocktail, which is served up and topped with a couple edible pedals. It was a sight to see Greg pull out a plastic contained filled with fresh rose petals from the fridge. Now there's an ingredient you don't see every day. And he had buckets of them, in different shades, too. The petals give the drink a pink hue, which will undoubtably appeal to the ladies. Folks, your Valentine's Day cocktail has already arrived.

I'd like to also say that it's nice to see a New York bar owner actually behind the bar for a change.

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