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 idea was to create a cocktail menu which reads like a shopping list one would create when going out to a gourmet market or the farmer's market," explains PDT alum Payman Bahmani, consultant on the list for the just-opened Brooklyn restaurant, Atrium Dumbo. "Rather than thinking of cheeky or clever names for each cocktail, I had the idea to simply name the drinks on the central flavor components."
Those components include everything from exotic citrus and spices (kalamansi, ras el hanout) to everyday kitchen staples (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, bread). "I was inspired by what Chef Kalkatour was doing with the food," says Bahmani. This led him to seek out ingredients and flavors one might not normally find in a cocktail, as well as experimenting "outside the usual citrus box. Acid," he notes, "is an important element in shaken cocktails and I realized that using citrus like bergamot and kalamansi accomplished the job of balancing a cocktail while providing unexpected flavor combinations...The commitment to constantly pushing the boundaries of expectation is rooted in my experience working at PDT," Bahmani says.
Beverage director Alexander LaPratt points to The Raspberry & Balsamic as an example of the menu's element of surprise: "It's a stirred, up, boozy drink that also belongs to the beer cocktail family. It's one of those cocktails where you think you know what you're getting but it will surprise you—we like to do that where we can," remarks LaPratt, a veteran of Jean-Georges and db Bistro Moderne.
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.