"It took us all by surprise that this drink has been selling so well, but it's the breakout hit," Joaquin Simó told us. "I thought corn milk in a cocktail would turn some people off, but no." Simó's conception of this cocktail—corn milk, two bourbons, orgeat, lemon, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao—came through a long line of associations.
"I was reading on this website about street food in Thailand, and across from food stalls there are often different stalls that sell only drinks. There's one they make by pureeing raw corn, with a little honey and cinnamon. That got me thinking about Mexican horchata vendors, because you'll also see them on the street near taco or torta sellers... and that got me thinking about Spanish horchata, made with almonds, which made me think of orgeat—which is when it hit me, I'll make a corn milk Mai Tai." So the orgeat figures in there, but Simó swapped out rum for bourbon ("which makes sense with the corn, of course")—a blend of the wheated Weller Special Reserve and a more rye-heavy Eagle Rare. Simó then carefully knots a long strand of orange zest that spills out of the glass. "If you're a bartender and you can't find drama in the presentation of a tiki drink, you should reconsider your line of work."
Bonita Applebum (all house cocktails are $14)
Most of the ingredients of this drink come together ahead of time—pineapple is macerated in Laird's apple brandy, Luxardo Maraschino, Campari, and Sailor Jerry rum, which forms the base of the drink. That's shaken with egg white ("which really brings it together—you wouldn't think anything with pineapple would need help with mouthfeel, but this drink needed that egg white"). It's bright and balanced, what Simó calls "something for people who've never had an egg white drink, maybe; it ends up with a lot of fruit, between the apple and pineapple, but still remarkably quite dry."
And the name? "We knew we wanted something fun and cheeky, something referencing apples… and on a plane I saw this Michael Rapaport documentary, about A Tribe Called Quest, and "Bonita Applebum" hit—I totally remember dancing to that on back patios in Miami. That song did a lot of good things for a lot of people." And the song is on the Pouring Ribbons playlist.
"It's a bunch of ingredients no one has ever heard of," says Simó, "but we essentially designed it as a lighter-bodied Manhattan. With sweet and bitter notes, but not so heavy on fall spices—it's still the last push of summer." A stirred cocktail of Weller 107 bourbon, two gentian liqueurs (Aveze and Salers), and Galliano L'Autentico ("with its beautiful herbal and vanilla notes"). "All these gentians are pretty much unheard of in the States, which is a shame."
Lust for Life
"We envisioned this as a really accessible mezcal drink; the smoke here isn't overwhelming." Pineapple and orgeat lend richness while sherry (Lustau Palo Cortado "Peninsula") brings out the orgeat's nutty flavors, "and contributes beautiful dried fruit flavors as well." Simó finds sherry "just about the most underrated cocktail ingredient"; among other reasons, "because It's an opportunity to add acid in a complex, non-citrus form." It's topped with a shake of alkalized cocoa; "Ever since a trip to Oaxaca, mezcal and cocoa have been indelibly linked, for me." It's vibrantly acidic and with the mezcal and the sherry, there's a bit of a savory undertone; "mezcal has those brinier, saline elements, and a bit of an earthy funk."
One Flight Up
"I hope the name for this one is self-explanatory," chuckled Simó (Pouring Ribbons is a second-floor bar). "This is a nice riff on a pisco sour. Pisco's still sort of a wild card in the States; lots of people only know it as a sour. But we wanted a brandy-based drink, and unaged pisco works well in warmer weather." Campari and soda mingle in the bottom, above which is poured a shake of egg white, lemon, Dolin blanc, and Encanto pisco, with a bit of orange flower water ("referencing another famous egg white cocktail"). The Campari bleeds up through the paler base. "It's a different experience depending on whether you stir it or whether you don't. And how much."
"This drink really started with the caramelized pear," said Simó of this cocktail designed by Troy Sidle. "Troy had cooked some pears and was really taken with the flavor, and he'd just done a sherry tasting. I've long, long loved sherry cocktails, but it was this point when I think Troy really appreciated their variety and potential." It's a fall drink, with the various warming notes of reposado tequila, Lustau Dry Amontillado sherry, and Angostura bitters ("there are very few things Angostura doesn't make better"). Barely-muddled lemon, short shake, crushed ice, with the bitters crowning the ice pile. "It can serve just as aromatics, or you can stir it in and change the experience a bit."