Awesome Blossom ($11)
For the Awesome Blossom, Palomino reaches for Nolet's Dry Gin, an extremely floral and fruit-forward spirit compared to its woodsier London Dry counterparts. (Peach and Turkish rose are two of Nolet's main botanicals.) In fact, Palomino says, it's "as far away from London Dry as you can get." To further stretch and accentuate the gin's inherent floral qualities, Palomino counters it with Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur and Campari. "Your brain registers candy immediately, because of the sweet and the floral," he says. A measure of simple syrup helps boost this reaction, while a hit of lemon juice brightens the surrounding flavors.
Spring Trap ($11)
The Spring Trap is Palomino's riff on Orangina. "I like when a cocktail with orange attempts to convey the entirety of the orange," he says. Sure, there's a juicy sweetness, "but there's also pith and bitterness." The perfume of orange oil, freshly expressed over, say, an Old Fashioned—"that, in my mind, translates as something much more appetizing than a glass of orange juice." Orange peel infused Hayman's Old Tom Gin is the spirit base, and clarified orange juice and Lillet Blanc provide assistance in rounding out this celebration of sunny citrus.
Sierra Madre ($11)
This stirred, brandied-cherry-topped cocktail is Palomino's "attempt at mole," he says with a smile. He starts with pasilla chile infused La Penca Mezcal, which presents resilient smoky and spicy flavors. To that he adds Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and The Bitter Truth chocolate bitters. It has the build of a Manhattan, but trades the traditional baking-spice and red fruit notes for subtle chocolate and heady smoke.
Watership Down ($11)
Named for the 1972 Richard Adams novel, the Watership Down cocktail is an intense and surprising exploration of carrot. (The book, as it happens, is an epic portrayal of rabbits. Carrots, rabbits...get it?) The centerpiece of this drink is a rich carrot-juice reduction that Palomino makes by simmering one and a half quarts of fresh carrot juice (yielded from pulverizing countless carrots) until he's left with about a half to three quarters of a cup of concentrated liquid—savory on the nose, caramel-sweet to the palate. Palomino says he often picks up on carrot-like flavors in gin and wanted to tease them out. Here he uses Trenchermen's current go-to well gin, Greylock, made by Massachusetts-based Berkshire Mountain Distillers. The inclusion of lemon juice and Suze, an ages-old gentian-heavy bitter liqueur from France only recently returning to the U.S. market, serve to soften the burnt-sugar sweetness of the carrot reduction.
Damn, Son ($11)
Palomino has been exploring the potential of forced-carbonation and cocktails since his previous gig behind the bar at Wylie Dufresne’s innovative New York restaurant wd~50. He uses the technique to compound the bright citrus qualities of the Damn, Son with effervescence. It starts with Averell Damson Gin Liqueur—modeled after "a traditional British spirit," Palomino says—made with a scarce variety of plum called the damson. (It's akin to sloe gin.) Palomino then adds Breckenridge Bitters, from Colorado, and filtered grapefruit juice. He points out that for quite a while, Malört stood alone as the only example of a truly American potable bitters. Breckenridge is a sweeter, milder (and arguably more palatable) newcomer to the category.