Wylie Dufresne's wd~50 is known as a place of relentless experimentation, where the kitchen has no fear of xanthan gum or meat glue if they result in an awesome dish. So perhaps it's to be expected that bar manager Kevin Denton has just as much fun with the cocktail menu.
What that means? Cold-smoking spirits; carbonating piña coladas with xanthan gum; transforming classic ingredients into oils and infusions. And creating drinks that deceive you with flavors or grow as you're drinking them. (Yes, really.)
"Everything we do is in consultation with Chef," Denton says of Dufresne. "I want people to have the same 'aha!' moments that they do with the food. We're taking nostalgic flavors and playing with them in different ways. It might be a little cerebral. But I think it's rewarding."
While there are clear parallels between food and drink menus—the Pho Cup is a loose analogy to Dufresne's "pho gras," the Sofa Jockey Julep in the same flavor world as his "root beer ribs"—Denton doesn't necessarily push drink-to-dish pairings. "It's more fun if you play around with the drinks, discover what works for yourself."
Denton showed us six of his favorite drinks on the current menu, which has been around for about a month now. Check out the slideshow to meet the "Pho Cup," "Oliver Clothesoff," "Pisco Bay," and more.