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.
"We've got a primarily Latin spirits bar program: tequila, mezcal, rum, cachaça, and pisco are the focus," explains Moses Laboy, head bartender at the recently opened Tribeca bar and restaurant Los Americanos.
Of the 18 original cocktails on the menu, only one features vodka—and even that isn't much of a concession, as it uses Primo, an Argentinean vodka distilled from Malbec grapes. "What I loved about developing this menu is that my imagination really wasn't stifled," says Laboy, a 16-year New York City bar veteran whose resume includes Red Rooster and Donatella. "What's cool is that we take these five different Latin spirits and show each of them in three different preparation styles."
The first style is what Laboy calls "Piraguas" or "icy goodness," named after the popular Puerto Rican dessert consisting of shaved ice covered in fruit syrup. His riff on the concept delivers boozy, fruit-forward swizzles over cobbled ice—crème de violette and cachaça in the vibrant Purple Jaguar, mezcal and strawberry liqueur in the Frida's Flame. The next section, titled "Mas Fuerte," focuses on stirred, spirit-forward cocktails ("a great beginning to the end of your day," jokes Laboy). And finally are the "Maracas," or shaken drinks, including a re-imagined piña colada featuring housemade almond-coconut milk, and a fiery play on a mezcal margarita with a show-stealing candied jalapeño garnish.
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.