Food + Drink / Insights

Drink Like James Bond

In time with the release of the latest James Bond novel comes a new Bond cocktail.

July 06, 2011

One of the staples in the James Bond legacy, having been mentioned in Dr. No, For Your Eyes Only and Diamonds Are Forever, and a known Ian Fleming favorite, is the American Bar at The Savoy in London. To celebrate the release of the newest Bond book, Carte Blanche: The New James Bond Novel, American Bar’s head bartender Erik Lorincz unveiled a new signature cocktail: the Carte Blanche.

Created by Ian Fleming and continued by Jon Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulk and now Jeffrey Deaver, the .007 novels have seen a rotating selection of villains, Bond girls and cocktails. In Carte Blanche, Deaver has Bond drinking a whiskey-based libation—still shaken, not stirred—which The American Bar was the first in the world to serve. A mix of Crown Royal Whisky, triple sec, and Angostura bitters with a twist of orange peel, Lorincz’s Carte Blanche goes down smooth with a hint of bitterness. Though you won’t find the new Carte Blanche on any New York cocktail menus—or anywhere in the U.S.—Lorincz was kind enough to share the recipe.

Carte Blanche

2 ounces Crown Royal Whisky
1/2 ounce triple sec
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Add ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

—Stephanie Stark


Culinary Clique

Tasting Table's new outpost is a laboratory.

June 27, 2011

Tasting Table’s new Soho Test Kitchen & Dining Room, which will house six designer Jenn-Air appliances, will act as a private laboratory for the executive chef, editors and visiting professionals to develop recipes and menus featured on the website. It will also host intimate cooking and cocktail demonstrations and informal get-togethers for its most loyal members.



Sweet Treat: Chambre de Sucre

These intricately crafted Japanese sugars are almost too pretty to eat.

June 23, 2011

As much as we love serving classic English “lumps” of sugar at teatime, these darling hand-made sugars by Chambre de Sucre take the cake. And we’re certainly in good company: the artisan sweeteners are the emperor of Japan’s preferred sugar. Since 1744, Chambre de Sucre has been molding Japan’s finest sugar into smooth pebble-like rounds and perfectly formed cubes, which dissolve instantly and beautifully into a piping hot cup of tea. The sucre rond variety (ABOVE) is our personal favorite for its pristine form and elegant floret topper.


Cheers to Beer Cocktails

Forgo a basic summer pale ale for a zesty beer cocktail.

June 13, 2011

  Modelo Especial

Love lager but want to sip something more sophisticated than a frostybrew? Try a beer cocktail, courtesy of Crown Imports ambassador and chef Kathy Casey. It will capitalize on the crisp, refreshing taste of hops for an elevated concoction suited more to a coupe than a stein.

The FrutaChelada
12 oz. bottle Modelo Especial
2 tbsp. chopped pineapple, mango or melon
3 raspberries cut in quarters
1 tsp. sugar
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Dash of hot sauce if desired
Fresh fruit wedge

Spicy & Sweet Coarse Salt:
¼ cup kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the fruit with the sugar, pressing well. Add raspberries. Fill the shaker with ice, then add the lime juice, beer and hot sauce if desired. Stir and pour into tall salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with fruit.

Asia Fresh
1½ oz. Tsingtao Pure Draft
3 slices cucumber
1½ oz. vodka
½ oz. sake
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
Thin cucumber slice

Drop cucumber slices into a shaker. Press cucumber with a cocktail muddler to release the flavors. Fill shaker with ice. Measure in vodka, sake, lime juice and simple syrup. Cap and shake vigorously. Add Tsingtao Pure Draft. Strain into a large martini glass and garnish with a thin cucumber slice.


Cocktail to Try: The Unstrung Harp

Pay a visit to Tenpenny for its summery sip.

June 08, 2011

The Unstrung Harp

Refreshing cocktails are a necessity when it comes to keeping cool during a New York City summer. And while every Memorial Day returns with a roster of warm-weather classics, this summer welcomes a new, soon-to-be-favorite: the Unstrung Harp at Tenpenny (The Gotham Hotel, 16 E. 46th St.). Think of it as the white linen pants of cocktails—the rum drink has some calling it the Dark ’n’ Stormy’s refined sister. Though it was named after Edward Gorey’s novel of the same name, Sam Sifton of The New York Times might be calling it the Diner’s Journal drink of the summer. Find the recipe below, courtesy of one of Tenpenny’s owners, Jeffrey Tascarella.

The Unstrung Harp
1½ oz. Gosling’s Black Seal rum
1 oz. ginger syrup*
2 limes, halved and crushed
3½ oz. prosecco

Shake the rum, syrup and limes with ice. Pour into a large, sturdy wine glass. Add prosecco.

*To make ginger syrup, dissolve two teaspoons of sugar in a tablespoon of ginger juice from grated ginger.

Closing Time: Madame Wong’s

The NYPD shut down the pop-up club Madame Wong’s last week, according to Eater. The underground, password-required parties hosted by Simonez Wolf, formerly of the Beatrice Inn, were held at the Chinese restaurant Jobee. Because Madame Wong’s didn’t comply with the restaurant’s original method of operation, the Community Board denied the application to renew its liquor license. Once the standing license expired, the NYPD raided the club, closing its doors. Not to disappoint his legions of fans and followers, Simonez tells Eater that another party is in the works.

—meghan gleason
photograph by Yana Paskova for The New York Times


Good Libations: Bar on Fifth

Channel old school New York with classic cocktails and live jazz at The Setai.

May 20, 2011

Bar on Fifth at The Setai Fifth Avenue

  A sampling of chocolate desserts

Tucked inside the palatial Setai Fifth Avenue, Bar on Fifth oozes retro cool and modern glamour, with a nod to the Far East. Master mixologists stand tall behind the understated bar, prepared to muddle, mix and shake delicious concoctions using ingredients like pickled ginger, gin-infused cucumber and peach purée. Elegantly presented in a copper mug with a slice of lime is the bar’s signature drink, The Moscow Mule. Combining vodka, ginger beer, lime juice and muddled ginger, the drink offers the perfect medley of sweet and tart.

And if you’re feeling peckish the menu is chock-full of Euro-American classics. The smoked salmon tartine, a scrumptious bed of chilled salmon, watercress, quail egg and tasty horseradish mousse was a delightful summer appetizer while the fried risotto with porcini mushrooms satisfied our savory tooth. Though Bar on Fifth features nightly jazz sets, do make sure and visit on an evening when artist in residence Antonio Ciaccia is on stage with his jazz quartet. 400 Fifth Ave.

—Kaitlin Clark
photographs by robert reck


Chef Chat: Christina Tosi

New York has a sweet spot for Tosi’s whimsical treats and, given her recent nomination, the James Beard Foundation does, too.

April 29, 2011

It comes as no surprise that Momofuku Milk Bar owner and pastry chef Christina Tosi, who regularly snacks on frosting, cookie batter and cereal milk, is as sweet and charming as the childhood throwback treats she bakes. She’s basically Julia Roberts with a whisk. When asked about being the only pastry chef nominated in the James Beard Foundation Awards’ Rising Star Chef category, Tosi first admits to being emotionally dumbfounded and then adds, “I just want to share it with everyone and anyone that’s worked so hard doing what they’re passionate about, because everyone that makes sacrifices and cares that much deserves to feel exactly this way.”

A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Tosi worked pastry at Bouley and wd~50 before taking up with David Chang and building her Milk Bar empire (three NYC shops and a commissary in Brooklyn). Here, Tosi talks about the nomination, a typical day in her Brooklyn pastry lab and the absurdly delicious combination of French fries and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

How did you hear the news of your nomination?
CHRISTINA TOSI: John Currence texted me congratulations. He’s just about one of my favorite people in the world; a true Southern gentleman, host and chef. At first I wasn’t sure what in the world he was talking about, then screeches of excitement came out of our Milk Bar office in Brooklyn.

What does the nomination mean to you?
CS: I take it as a source of motivation and reward for each employee at Milk Bar and for everyone at Momofuku. I take it as a challenge for us to remain who we are, stay humble, but honest, focused and to keep doing what we love.

The menu at Milk Bar is very whimsical and recalls a lot of favorite childhood sweets. What was your favorite sweet as a child?
CS: Cookie dough. Any kind. Any time. Any place. My gram’s oatmeal cookie dough was my cookie dough of choice.

What inspires your cooking? Any ideas you're kicking around now?
CS: Food with soul. Places and things with soul and a story. Things that taste good—really good—which usually means familiar flavors or familiar textures. We take inspiration from family meal or what grandma used to make at family reunions, or our favorite snacks. We’re playing around with an even larger more consistent savory bread program, toasted to order at the Milk Bars; delving more into our savory side.

What's a typical day overseeing all three Milk Bars like for you?
CS: It’s great because everyday is different. We talk about more Milk Bars! We talk about the menus at the current Milk Bars. We recipe test, have contests scooping cookie dough, organize photos for the cookbook, taste five different versions of a possible pork bun, have a dance party, dig to find new ways to inspire and motivate our staff at the Milk Bars, remind them they’re family, teach them how to do anything and everything; to push, to be the best version of themselves, be a real teammate. A typical day is leading by example and exuding the passion behind this job on as many levels as possible; that and making sure that nothing goes up in a ball of flames. I moved to this city because I was once a night owl and living in the city that never sleeps seemed like the perfect place for me. I now live in a world where Milk Bar never sleeps and it’s the most exciting time of my life.

In the dessert arena, what's your favorite it's-so-bad-it's-good guilty pleasure?
CS: Um, I’ve got an arsenal but I’ll try to edit it down: cake mix/batter; raw brownie batter, or just slightly warmed in the microwave; underbaked cookie dough; a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in bed, with or without French fries dipped in it; graham crackers layered with canned funfetti frosting; a spoon of frosting.

—april walloga


Bar to Try: The Empire Room

Old school libations and sleek décor make this the ultimate power cocktailing spot.

April 28, 2011

The Empire Room

Bedecked in Art Deco chandeliers, velvety half-moon banquettes and what owner Mark Grossich refers to as “flying saucer” sconces, The Empire Room is a cozy retreat into old New York.

Retro nibbles, like miniature beef Wellingtons, jumbo shrimp cocktail and truffled popcorn, and vintage cocktails (think Moscow Mules and Juleps) make this the sort of place we imagine Don Draper and Roger Sterling might drown their afternoons, and client woes, away at. Much like its inspiration, the long shuttered Empire State Club, The Empire Room mostly attracts a business crowd during the week. Saturday nights see a more diverse group and, occasionally, live jazz music.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate The Empire State Building’s 80th anniversary (May 1) than sinking into one of The Empire Room’s plush club chairs and taste testing the new-for-spring Flower-Infused Empire Cocktail.

Flower-Infused Empire Cocktail

The Flower-Infused Empire Cocktail


1 ¾ ounces Bluecoat American Dry Gin
¾ ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth
½ ounce Royal Combier
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
1 heaping tsp. raspberry-orange marmalade
1 ounce Moët & Chandon Champagne

Shake first five ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with Champagne and spritz with flower infusion (BELOW).

Flower Infusion

1 ounce orange flower water
1 ounce rose water
1 ounce elderflower liqueur
1 ounce violet liqueur

Add all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to combine.  

—april walloga


Chef Chat: Michael White

Michael White discusses his James Beard Foundation award nod, and dreams of opening a restaurant in Italy.

April 28, 2011

This is a familiarly busy time of year for Marea chef Michael White. Once again, he is fielding interviews and kudos for a James Beard Foundation (JBF) Award nomination. Last year, Marea was nominated for, and won, the JBF Best New Restaurant award and this year White received a nod in the Best Chef, New York City category. At Marea, White masterfully wields the fruits of the Mediterranean into delicately decadent dishes like sea urchin slathered toast veiled in lardo sprinkled with sea salt. We caught up with the accomplished chef to talk about the nomination, how he runs his kitchen and Italy.   

Did you receive this year’s nomination with a different feeling than last year’s?
MICHAEL WHITE: It is certainly as surprising to be nominated for the second time as it was for the first. I am flattered and humbled. This year, I am nominated personally, which is a huge compliment for myself, but I wouldn’t even be considered if it wasn’t for all of the people on my team who make what I do so enjoyable.

What are the qualities you look for in the chefs you hire at Marea?
MW: I look for people who believe in what I do, who are trustworthy, confident and work well in a team.

What's the atmosphere like in the kitchen?
MW: It is atypical in a sense that there is total camaraderie. There is rarely any yelling or strife. Fighting certainly doesn’t get the food out any faster.

People refer to the JBF Awards as “the Oscars of food,” and there is a perception of glamour surrounding accomplished NYC chefs. How does the attention from the media affect you?
MW: It is exciting to be recognized. All of a sudden people want to take my picture. They used to just take pictures of my food. I enjoy the attention, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. I most enjoy that my seven-year-old daughter Francesca goes to school and people ask her about her “famous chef Dad.” She’s proud of me.

Given that all of the Best Chef, New York City nominees are based in Manhattan, what are some of your favorite restaurants in the outer boroughs?
MW: Tra di Noi off of Arthur Avenue, SriPraPhai, Fatty Cue.

You’ve talked about opening a restaurant in Italy. What city would you choose and why?
MW: Rome, because it is the halfway point between North and South, so I would feel at home doing cuisine of both regions.

Describe your ideal meal in its ideal setting.
MW: Eating a seafood salad with crusty bread on the rocks somewhere along the Amalfi Coast with my family.

Should you not win, whom would you most like to lose to?
MW: I would lose to any of the other nominees. They are all very talented.

—april walloga


Nightlife Pick: Theater Bar

A bar with a theatrical spin makes a great cocktail and sets a winning scene.

April 27, 2011

Theater Bar

In New York City, it’s not uncommon for an aspiring actor to moonlight as a cocktail server. But for the bartenders and waitresses at Albert Trummer’s new opera house-inspired venue, Theater Bar (114 Franklin St., 212-334-3733), serving drinks is a performance in itself. “It’s not enough to just make cocktails anymore,” Trummer says. “You have to entertain as well.”

To set the stage, Trummer enlisted the help of designer Emily Anne Waterhouse, who focused on decorating with vintage pieces. “Almost everything in the space has been reclaimed,” she explains, “even the floorboards.” The arch behind the bar is made with frames (taken apart and repainted) that are more than 100 years old. (A few things are admittedly new. “The red curtains behind the bar were made by a stage curtain company,” Waterhouse says. “And the large pieces of artwork were done by students at the NY Art Academy across the street.”) Toward the back of the long room is an elevated bar. Made from large slabs of marbleized onyx lit from within, “it’s almost set up like a sushi counter,” Trummer says.

Each of his four bartenders has their own station, where apothecary bottles hold fresh ingredients used in the thoughtful specialty cocktails. The original European aperitivo and Champagne cocktails, Asian and Latin libations, Mayan and Aztec remedies and Harlem Renaissance-inspired drinks are the handiwork of Nick O’Connor, Esteban Ordonez, Miguel Aranda and Duane Fernandez (respectively). Of course a great performance comes with a few surprises. “I learned from growing up in Vienna opera houses that every bar needs a backstage,” Trummer says. “Friends always want to come behind the bar.” A secret code to a door downstairs lets friends of the house reemerge on the other side of the action. It’s there that a fifth bartender, illusionist Jeff Grow, keeps his appointments. He pairs cocktails—like a Pins & Needles—with Houdini’s tricks—a feat that involves swallowing a pin. Bravo.

—Meghan Gleason

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