Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
"All of our drinks reflect a time in our lives, experiences we've had, translated into liquid format for our clientele," explains Thor Bergquist, the creative force behind the newly revamped cocktail list at the Lower East Side hotspot Experimental Cocktail Club.
Berquist, a 10-year bar veteran who's worked everywhere from Der Raum in Melbourne to The Tippling Club in Singapore, joins the New York spot after spending three years at the bar's London outpost. With the new cocktail list (and a new food menu) launching at the beginning of September, the bar hopes to shift its atmosphere to being more like a cocktail bar and less like a club, especially on weekends.
"We try and create a flavor journey," says Bergquist of his drink-making philosophy. "We have flavor graphs. You have the initial, the body, and the after tastes—we want people to always be experiencing something new as they taste the drink." In the case of the Stockholm Syndrome ($14), a Smash variation featuring aquavit and cumin and dill-infused vodka, the flavor journey goes from cumin to citrus to dill. But it's also a reflection of a personal journey for Swedish-born, New Zealand-raised Bergquist. "I went to Stockholm for the first time last year and fell in love with pickled herring and wanted to recreate those flavors in liquid form," he explains.