Mint Julep ($10)
Although Laycock calls it the "most standard" cocktail on the menu, this drink's not without a number of touches that separate it from more classic preparations. For example, the use of small Kold-Draft cubes instead of crushed ice. "It's a strong whiskey drink so I think it's good to have on the rocks," explains Laycock.
Also unique is the addition of tangy currants and a sugar cane stick to the traditional spearmint garnish. "The sugar cane makes me think of the South," says Horowitz. "I love chewing on the stuff behind the bar, it's like a little present in your glass," adds Laycock.
Coco 'ti Punch ($10)
"Imagine a Piña Colada meets a New York egg cream by way of Thailand," offers Horowitz when describing this whimsical creation.
To make the drink, Laycock combines a simple syrup flavored with lemongrass, Kaffir lime, black peppercorn, and palm sugar with peach nectar, coconut cream, and Thai chili-infused overproof rum. Most unexpected, however, is how they achieve the cocktail's thick, foamy texture: "We charge a NO2 canister with all the ingredients and then it comes out into the glass like whipped cream," says Horowitz.
Mezcal Paloma ($9)
For Laycock, this spicy, smoky riff on a Paloma offers a real taste of home. Here, fresh white grapefruit juice, chipotle simple syrup, and unaged Ilegal mezcal are shaken and poured over a single large-format ice cube, with a simple sage leaf placed on top for garnish. "I grew up in New Mexico—there's sage everywhere there and chipotle was like half of my diet, so this drink just feels homey," he says.
Watermelon Gimlet ($10)
"We'll sit around and talk and brainstorm," says Laycock of their drinks-development process. "I said, 'For me, in the summer, I like X, Y, and Z things,' and we just started playing around from there."
One of those favorite summer things? Watermelon. Here, the freshly pressed juice is mixed with lime juice and Perry's Tot Navy-Strength gin from the Brooklyn-based New York Distilling Co. It's served in a mason jar over ice, garnished simply with a lime wedge and a sprig of lavender (which they buy from a farm near Horowitz's family home on Long Island).
Bloody Julius ($10)
At Ducks, you're likely to see a good deal of crossover here between the flavors of the bar and the kitchen. In this case, blood orange intended for a scallop dish also found its way into the glass. The juice is shaken with Tito's Handmade Vodka and a touch of cream, served over ice with a sprig of tarragon and wedge of blood orange for garnish. "It's like a play on an Orange Julius combined with a creamsicle," says Horowitz.
Chef Will Horowitz
The Coco 'ti Punch may be a take on a shaken egg white cocktail, but its rich, foamy texture actually comes from the drink being charged in an NO2 canister and then dispensed into the glass like boozy, flavored whipped cream.