Scotch Marsala (cocktails $15)
Marsala, a fortified wine, is widely considered a cooking wine—veal Marsala, chicken Marsala, the list goes on. But here, it's stirred with Scotch (Dewar's White Label), vanilla syrup, orange bitters, and the caraway-flavored Kummel. "I like the way the caraway notes of the Kummel pair with the smokiness of the Scotch," Freeman told us.
"It's not really a gimlet in that there's no lime," says Freeman; instead, lemon and fresh rhubarb juice, plus Ford's Gin and Aperol (which is made with rhubarb itself). The drink was created by Emily McClure for Marea, owner Michael White's restaurant uptown. "We want guests who know our other restaurants to have drinks they're familiar with."
Rhymes with "mai tai," and starts from that template, while swapping in blood orange liqueur Salerno for the curaçao, and Nardini Mandorla, a grappa-based almond liqueur, for orgeat. The rum? Brugal 1888.
"It's a meat-centric restaurant, so our chef, PJ [Calapa], wanted a Bloody or a Bullshot on the menu," said Freeman. He opted for a take on the Red Snapper, the gin version of a Bloody Mary. (The drink dates to post-Prohibition New York, when bartender Fernand Petoit bought the Bloody Mary over from France; he landed at the St. Regis, where the name "Bloody Mary" was deemed unacceptable and vodka was hard to come by. Thus: the Red Snapper.)
Freeman starts his with a purée of golden heirloom tomatoes, blended in the Vita-Prep and passed through a rough strainer, to retain a bit of texture. That forms the base of the mix, with fresh horseradish, Sriracha, and black pepper. It's joined by celery-infused Ford's Gin, lemon, and a bit of Maggi seasoning, adding a rich savory element.
Global Martini (martinis are $16)
As distinguished from the "local" martini on the next slide. In the global: Old Raj 110-proof gin, out of Scotland; Cocchi Vermouth de Torino, of course Italian; and Dolin Dry, from Chambéry in France. To garnish, a pickled onion. "It's remarkably smooth, for a martini with 110-proof gin," says Freeman.
Representing New York, we've got Greenhook Gin, Atsby vermouth, and Brooklyn Hemispherical Meyer lemon bitters. To garnish, a pickled ramp. "This martini has a marked herbaceousness," says Freeman. "The martinis have been selling well, better than I would've thought, considering they're all gin-based."