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.
Michael White is slated to open The Butterfly later this summer, a cocktail-centric bar and restaurant with Eben Freeman running the show. Freeman gained acclaim as a cocktail man at wd-50 and later at Tailor, his work regarded as innovative and boundary-pushing. He's now the director of bar operations for White's restaurant empire, the Altamarea group. And in that role, he's the man behind the cocktail menu at Costata, which opened last week.
White's fifth New York restaurant, spread over three stories in Soho, is one part Italian, one part steakhouse, pasta and crudo alongside steaks and chops. As befits a steakhouse, the cocktail menu is whiskey-heavy, with bourbon-, rye-, and Scotch-based drinks, as well as a martini list four deep. So far, Freeman is pleased with the success of those martinis; "They've have been selling well, better than I would've thought, considering they're all gin-based—not the vodka so many people are used to."
While for the most part, the cocktails are variants on classics, unusual touches appear throughout: Maggi seasoning on a Red Snapper (gin Bloody Mary), Marsala stirred into a Scotch drink, a Mai Tai with Italian liqueurs swapped in for orgeat and curaçao.