St. Marks the Spot
"We're planning on having at least one vegetable juice cocktail on the menu all the time," says Kevin. "We've got this one with carrot juice, and we're planning on with a green juice in the future."
The St. Marks the Spot is made with Aalborg Akvavit, carrot juice, and honey-sweetened sea-buckthorn juice, which offers a tart flavor that takes the place of citrus. "We've been trying to figure out ways to get away from that box of citrus," says Kevin.
Pulling a Piney Pimm's
Three of Alder's cocktails are on tap—batched out, carbonated, and kegged. Pre-mixing not only allows for more consistency and carbonation, it also allows bartenders to serve drinks in seconds rather than minutes with an increase in quality control.
A carbonated mixture of Pimm's No. 1, pine needle syrup, Flor de Caña rum, and lemon, served with cucumbers in an enameled tin tumbler.
"The trick is to not infuse the horseradish for too long so that you get the aroma but not the heat," explains Kevin. Horseradish-infused Absolut vodka is mixed with green apple juice, carbonated, and served on draft with a slice of apple that has been sliced on a meat slicer and compressed in a vacuum bag with Campari. The apple slice adds Campari's characteristic aroma without adding bitterness to the cocktail base.
Dr. Dave's 'Scrip Pad
"Dr. Dave is an East Village local legend who's known for offering cheap medical services to restaurant workers," says Kevin. This drink, named after him, is made with Old Overholt rye, Ramazzotti Amaro, yuzu juice, and maple syrup that's been smoked with a mixture of applewood, hickory, and alder. "That maple syrup is like vegan bacon," Kevin noted.
Love Oolong Time
"I like to give all of my drinks names based on people, places, or silly puns," says Kevin. Calle 23 Tequila infused with Chinese 5-spice comes together with fresh grapefruit juice and oolong tea in the Love Oolong Time, one of the three cocktails that Alder also offers in alcohol-free variations.
Zereshk is History
Alder's version of a gin and tonic starts with Beefeater gin and Fever Tree tonic. A touch of grape-must molasses adds a raisin-y sweetness, while zereshk—an Iranian berry—combined with verjus adds a tart element in place of lime.
Pouring a Shamrock Amigo
Jameson Black Barrel whiskey mixed with Mexican-made French-style liqueur Fernet Vallet flavored with a barley malt and chipotle syrup gets poured into a miniature pint glass, then topped off with a Guinness head. "We add a bit of powdered egg white to the Guinness to form a head that lasts," explains Kevin.
The resulting cocktail looks just like a pint of Guinness in miniature, and the frothy Guinness head holds in the aroma of the whiskey underneath, continuing the illusion until you sip it. "Everybody tries to drink too fast on the first try," says Kevin, with a laugh. "You hold it up to your mouth and it smells and feels just like a Guinness, but the cocktail underneath is a lot more potent."