Persephone (all drinks listed $13)
The Devil Inside
And why the name? "We needed Crema de Mezcal to tone it down a bit, which I don't like using, but hey—the greatest trick the devil ever did was to convince you he didn't exist." So it's the Devil Inside. "It's interesting to see people taste this. I feel like some of them think it's a dare—but their faces light up when they realize how clean and light it is. It's a lot less terrifying once you taste it.
"This is, by far, my favorite cocktail I've ever made."
Pistachio Milk Punch
Resler salts and toasts pistachios before blending them into a nut milk, the base of the cocktail. It meets Dos Tequila Reposado ("it has all these salted caramel, toffee notes—it's great in cocktails, fun to work with") and Combier "to brighten it up with a pop of citrus." That's shaken before it's poured into a salt-rimmed glass and topped off with soda. Resler tends to steer clear of both those things—"I feel like soda often just dulls flavors, and I don't want salt on every margarita we make"—but he finds that soda lifts up an otherwise dense drink, and the salt heightens the pistachio flavor.
Resler's creation is now the first non-agave drink on Cocina's menu. He's using Zubrowka, bison grass vodka, "which is pretty much the opposite of those bourbons and such," and Lillet Rose—"a tie-in to summer, since it's so fragrant and floral." Lemon juice and tonic finish it off.
And the apple? "There's nothing that says 'crisp, green apple' more than this," Resler told me, holding out a bottle of neon-green liquid: a green Jolly Rancher syrup he'd made. "So I said screw it, let's just use that." The apple syrup is poured over the top, "mostly for the aromatics of it"—and while the "aromatics" of Jolly Ranchers may sound absurd, the candy jumps to mind as your nose approaches the drink, only to integrate as you sip it, a flavor that starts saying "apple" instead of "neon green." Unless you know it's there, of course.