Thursday, September 1, 2011

Of Pitcher Cocktails and Cecchinis

Pitcher cocktails will play a central role in the cocktail program at Greenwich Village's Frankies 570 Sputino, the latest in the growing Frankies empire, set to open Sept. 6. Staking out a middle ground between cocktails and punches, pitcher cocktails (and we're not talking Sangria here) have been picking up steam for a couple months now, popping up at Mayahuel, 1534, Prime Meats and Vandaag (whose erstwhile beverage director will now be working some shifts at 570).

One other intriguing aspect to the Frankies 570 cocktail menu, which didn't make its way into the Times article below, is the fact that new restaurant will have a seasonal cocktail called a Cecchini. "We don't have cranberry juice behind the bar, so we're not going to make Cosmopolitans," said Cabell Tomlinson. "Instead, we're going to do a season 'pink drink' and call it a Cecchini, after Toby Cecchini. It will be a variation on the Cosmopolitan." Cecchini is the well-known New York bartender who helped to popularize the Cosmopolitan in the late 1980s, and has never quite escaped from the shadow of that modern "Sex and the City" classic. Tomlinson checked with Cecchini before using his name. "He said, 'I'm never going to get that albatross off of my neck, so go ahead.'"

At Frankies 570 Spuntino, Seasonal Cocktails You Pour
By Robert Simonson
At Frankies 570 Spuntino, the new West Village restaurant from the team of Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, which is set to open on Tuesday, pitchers aren’t just for beer anymore.
“Pitchers had been on my mind,” said Cabell Tomlinson, a veteran bartender of Mr. Castronovo’s and Mr. Falcinelli’s Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, restaurant, Prime Meats. She is spearheading the drinks program at Frankies 570. “We were discussing whether we would be offering punches. I wasn’t liking that idea, because we already did it at Prime Meats, and there were punches at Death & Co. and Clover Club and other bars. It’s been done. And because this is an Italian restaurant, I really wanted to focus on aperitivo-style cocktails. It’s one of my favorite ways to drink. So instead of the logistics of punch bowls, we’re doing pitchers, which works really well for aperitivo cocktails.”
Frankies 570’s pitcher drinks will be seasonal, the selection adjusted with the weather and available produce. The initial three offerings will an Aperol Cooler (Aperol, Limoncello, lime juice, orange juice and soda), the Americano Royale (sweet vermouth, Campari, creme de cassis and prosecco) and the Basilico Spritzer (basil-infused extra-dry vermouth, St. Germain and prosecco). The pitchers, which yield roughly six glassfuls, will cost $36.
As summer cools into fall, the pitcher drinks will became more spice-driven and warming. “We’ll use some of the Italian amari, as well as apples, pears, rosemary, cinnamon,” said Ms. Tomlinson. “But we’ll keep them aperitivo drinks, keep them light.”
In keeping with the Italian leanings of the program, the house cocktail will be the Negroni, the classic mix of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin, which has been gaining in favor in recent years. “There’s been a sort of renewed interest in that drink,” Ms. Tomlinson said. “I think it’s my favorite cocktail. And, of course, the staff I have will be able to make other cocktails people ask for.” That impressive lineup will include Katie Stipe, lately of Vandaag; Ari Form and Matt DeVriendt of Carroll Gardens’ Jake Walk; Jim Kearns, who has worked at Freemans and Pegu Club, among others; Matthew Hunter from Market Table; John McCulloch of Frankies 457 in Brooklyn, and Natasha David of Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere.
There will also be a seasonal Bellini, variations on the simple sparkling Italian cocktail. “I’ve never really liked the way the Bellini looks in the glass,” Ms. Tomlinson said. “Also, when you drink it, the residue of the peach purée is in the glass. It’s kind of gloppy.” Frankies 570’s Bellinis will feature fruit liqueurs and sorbets instead of purée, as well as the expected prosecco.

No comments: