Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
"The whole idea behind the program was to create drinks that would complement the food but also drink well on their own," explains Phil Ward, the brains behind the revamped cocktails at the recently reopened Fatty 'Cue in Williamsburg.
Which is to say that all those things one looks for in good barbecue—smoke, spice, acidity, and yes, even meat—have made their way on to the new cocktail menu here. Peaty, smoky Scotch features twice in the Watson, a Sazerac variation that calls for an Islay Scotch mist and Fuji apple-infused Famous Grouse. Thai chili-infused tequila brings the heat to balance refreshing cucumber and savory Manzanilla sherry in the Nacho Libre. And in the drink called Fatty Manhattan 2.0, you'll find actual kitchen crossover: bourbon infused with fat from the restaurant's own house-smoked bacon.
Ward, who you may know from famed Manhattan establishments Death & Co. and Mayahuel, was brought on board to make over the drink programs at all of the Fatty Crew group's establishments. "His flavor profile really makes sense with what we do," says Fatty 'Cue head bartender Matt McGarry. "He understands smoke and spice, and is an expert is sherry and mezcal, and all of these things mesh well with what we do. He's also been instrumental in training the staff in cocktail knowledge and history."
"With the new Fatty 'Cue list it's all about the balance between the cocktails and the food—modern twists on classic drinks without going overboard. All of the drinks are unique and expressive while still being accessible," says McGarry.
About the author: Maryse Chevriere is a card-carrying cocktail geek on a mission to keep her glass (at least) half full. You can find her behind the bar preaching about peculiar wine at Terroir Park Slope and follow her spirited musings on Twitter @Maryse_Chev1224.