It's not easy to design a cocktail menu for a bar like Ginny's Supper Club, the swank new spot opened by Chef Marcus Samuelsson and partner Andrew Chapman located under his flagship Red Rooster. For one thing, the place is as much about the food (see our slideshow here) as it is about the drinks, and how do you pair cocktails with an eclectic mix of soul food, French dishes, and Chinese specialties? Second, there's the Harlem location and the local clientele (I proudly count myself amongst them). Not that there's not an audience that can appreciate $15 craft cocktails in Harlem, but it's certainly the first, most expensive, and most ambitious bar program in the neighborhood—at least, the first since the end of Jazz-era Harlem's golden age.
The menu is designed by Eben Klemm, the young cocktail director of B.R. Guest Restaurants and a former molecular biologist at MIT's Whitehead Institute (I dig his pedigree). It's split evenly between modern takes on classics and completely new drinks, occasionally drawing on Scandinavian and Dutch imports and flavors—genever, caraway, Heering liqueurs and the like—a nod to Chef Marcus Samuelsson's Swedish upbringing.