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.
According to beverage director Caitlin Doonan, guests who order a drink at the just-opened Chelsea spot, Toro New York, should expect to find a celebration of Spain in their glass. "It's about taking what you would traditionally find and have in Spain and ratcheting it up for a New York audience—being aware of modern techniques and styles but really wanting to celebrate the traditions of the culture," she explains.
"Cocktail-wise, the list was really inspired by Chef Ken [Oringer] and Chef Jamie [Bissonnette]'s recent trip to Barcelona," continues Doonan. "That's why we have the whole gin & tonic list—the drink is huge in Spain and specifically Barcelona tapas culture." Currently the list includes four variations, like the herb-driven Atencion Gratuita, and the Montana Fizz, which head bartender Matthew Durgin describes as a drink that's "all about being refreshing."
Cocktails like the Madeira Cup also salute tradition, featuring spirits that Spanish settlers would have brought with them from the Old World—Port and Madeira—and one that they would have found in the New—rum. Port, Madeira, and sherry are not only a prominent part of the cocktail list but on the drink menu as a whole. "Sherry is obviously something wine geeks have been into for some time," says Doonan, "but we've tried to put together a list that is more accessible. Toro is all about being inclusive and having fun—that's why we have the three big communal tables, and we offer to serve wines by the bottle in a porron." Echos Oringer in reference to the food: "You could come by for some quick pintxos and a cocktail or stay for dinner."
Fans who've visited the Boston original shouldn't expect this outpost to be a complete replica—on the cocktail list only two drinks, the Verdad y Amor and the Nantucket Mule, are repeats. "We want it to feel like the same vibe but not be a copy of Boston," says Doonan.
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.