Mata Hari ($16)
"The roses are an important element visually, and the smell also opens the palate in a different way," says Zaric of the dried rose buds that garnish this sensually engaging cocktail. Named after the famed World War I era femme fatale, this delicate but powerfully flavored drink mixes cognac with chai-infused sweet vermouth, pomegranate juice, and fresh lemon juice.
Zaric adopted this recipe from Harry Johnson's 1882 Bartenders' Manual, and notes that it differs from contemporary versions with the addition of orange curaçao and slightly more sweet vermouth. And instead of the now iconic cherries, this rye-based cocktail is garnished with a lemon twist. "I find this drink to just be delicious—I love it," remarks Zaric.
"We wanted to create a Martini-style gin cocktail that would be perfect with raw oysters," says Zaric of this rose-hued apéritif. To make the intensely fragrant and aromatic drink, he stirs lavender-infused Hendrick's gin with a housemade vermouth de Provence, plus a little Cointreau, garnishing simply with an orange twist.
There’s no mention of classic cocktails or the neo-speakeasy trend when Zaric offers the secret to the success of Employees Only. “It’s because of why we do it, not how—being dedicated to serving good food and drinks with pride and care. Ultimately the role and purpose of a restaurant is to be a public house, not a museum or performance center.”
Ginger Smash ($15)
Depending on the time of the year you stop in for a visit, you'll find a different iteration of this Employees Only original on the menu. "Only two things remain consistent between seasons," says Zaric, "it has to have ginger and it has to be muddled." In the fall, juicy pears and gin get added to the mix; in the winter, it's tart cranberries and gin; and in the spring, kumquats and tequila star. In this bold late-summer rendition, fresh, sweet pineapple gets muddled with fiery ginger, sugar, rum, lime juice, maraschino liqueur, and Berentzen apple liqueur.
Pimm's Cup ($15)
"We sell so much Pimm's," says Zaric, "the only place that sells more is the U.S. Open, and that's just in the month of September." The Employees Only adaptation on the classic introduces Cointreau and lime juice to the traditional mix of Pimm's No. 1 Cup, cucumber, and mint, and substitutes ginger ale for lemon-lime soda.