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 newly revamped cocktail list at The Breslin serves to remind you that you're drinking not just at a bar, but a restaurant bar. "We want there to be a natural segue to the meal," explains Sam Anderson. Anderson, who serves as the beverage director at the group's Murray Hill spot, Salvation Taco, came on at The Breslin as a consultant, working with head bartender Laura Lashley, formerly of Madame Geneva.
"We're really working in communication with the food program, trying to facilitate that natural conversation between cocktails, food, and wine—understanding the role of the cocktail in the dining experience, as a segue from an after-work aperitif to a meal," says Anderson. In that endeavor, you'll find drinks like the Perfect Prescription, an amaro-based Manhattan variation featuring Cynar and Cocchi Americano.
"Chef April's food is very much rooted in English tradition but also has inflections of Mediterranean ingredients," notes Anderson. As a result, many of the new drinks pull from English and Italian influences, usually with a subtle nod to local American products. You'll find traditional English "pudding spice" on the rim of the Siamese Dream, for example, and a Calabrian chili syrup in the Fever to Tell.
"I wanted to offer the full spectrum: Some cerebral, not-for-everyone drinks and some that are totally approachable," explains Anderson. "It very much mirrors the food here, you've got some ingredients and flavors that are on the wilder side and then you have the lamb burger, which anyone can come in and enjoy." This means that on the list you'll see everything from the adventurous Over the Edge, which features a pineapple-rosemary shrub made with lacto-fermented kimchi juice, to the breezy Moon Safari, an easy-drinking spin on the classic French 75.
About the author: Maryse Chevriere is a card-carrying beverage 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 and Instagram @marysechev.