BartenderOne in New York

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Imagine walking into a phone booth, dialling a number, and being redirected back to a world of sipping cocktails next to Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald……

On March 11th of this year, I traveled to New York to experience some of North America’s finest Speakeasies and Mixology bars. With only having one amazing speakeasy in Toronto, we were eager to head to the Big Apple and meet the bartenders that compete in Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

Our list of bars was short, but each location was very well known in the cocktail industry. Our first stop for gourmet cocktails was Employees Only, which is well known for its atmosphere and unique way of comforting a guest at 3:30am. The night began with one of their best gourmet cocktails:

The Ginger Smash

Small cubes of muddled ginger
Pureed Prickly Pears
Plymouth Gin
Berentzen Apple Liqueur
Fresh lemon juice
Build in a rocks glass
Garnished with a slice of dried Prickly Pear

This cocktail was very well balanced and quite refreshing. Just before 3:30am rolled around, our bartender, Scott, provided us with a personal size serving of chicken noodle soup. This was EO’s way of saying thanks to those who lasted the night.
After getting some much needed rest and seeing the sites of New York, I was back at it. My list of establishments included PDT and Pegu Club. (If you’re wondering what PDT stands for it’s Please Don’t Tell.)

Even before you taste these amazing gourmet cocktails you have to find the entrance. To enter PDT you have to first have to enter Crif Dogs, which is well known for having “New York’s number one dogs.” Inside this cozy little hotdog shop there is a 1960’s style phone booth that acts as a time portal from current day to the roaring twenties. You enter the phone booth and dial a specific number; if the number is right and they have room inside the wall portion of the phone booth will open up and you will feel as if you were back in the days of Al Capone. After having a couple gourmet cocktails from our good friend Jim Meehan, we headed to Pegu Club which is owned by Audrey Saunders. Pegu has a very upscale feel and plays music from the current period rather than looking and sounding like a speakeasy. This was the very spot where I had one of the best gourmet cocktails I have ever had in my life. It’s called “Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!” This cocktail hit every part of my pallet and not only was it amazing to taste, but the look and smell of the fresh rosemary made it an amazing experience. The recipe can be found below:

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!
Maraschino Liqueur
Shochu (distilled sake)
Pureed Pear
Fresh lemon juice
Shaken hard over ice
Garnished with a fresh pear slice and rosemary.

The cocktail scene in Toronto seems a world behind our close neighbours to the south. Even though places like Barchef are taking a foothold with classic cocktails, I feel like there is still much to be said and done for the mixology scene in Toronto… and we’re just getting started!

Stay Thirsty


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