town that is.
|Photo Courtesy of David X Prutting|
In the wake of a gloomy weather report this past week, Saturday’s clear sky was a more than welcome surprise. And to celebrate these first signs of spring, I headed downtown to drink it all in with the master mixologists behind Tribeca’s Weather Up.
Just shy of it’s 6th month birthday, Weather Up has already established itself as the capital of contemporary cocktailing. Of course, the cobblestone streets of the lower west side have no shortage of stylish speakeasies, but Weather Up has a sensibility all its own attracting upper east sides and hipsters a like.
With a small and meticulously crafted cocktail list, the warmly lit, white-tiled bar also offers up caviar and potato chip pairings that keep patrons swooning over their sweet and savory sundowners. In search of a the perfect printemps aperitif, I opted for one of my favorite champagne cocktails: the Old Cuban.
This drink combines champagne, rum, and Angostura bitters cut with cooling lime and crisp mint. Think of it as a mojito in an evening gown: it’s still got all the sass but gained a touch of sparkle. It’s slightly pink hue is dotted by freshly chopped mint leaves that hug each floating bubble, allowing every sip to sing and dance with the smell of springtime.
And it is simply that : a sweet sip of spring.
Weather Up: 159 Duane Street, NY 10013, 212 766 3202, 5pm-2am. www.weatherupnyc.com
So here’s how I like to make to my new cuban friend feel at home…
The New Cuban
(inspired by Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club’s Old Cuban)
6-8 mint leaves
1/2 – 1 ounce simple syrup*
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice (reserving rind to create a decorative twist)
1 ounce golden aged rum, preferably 10 Cane
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces chilled brut champagne or Rose Champagne!
* equal parts sugar and water: dissolve sugar in water in a sauce pan over low heat. Let cool. Can be stored in fridge for up to a week. Can also be infused with many flavors (herbs and spices for example); add to dissolved mix and removed flavors after 20 min during cooling. Try mixing it up a bit to create your own caliente cocktail!
1. Place mint, simple syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Crush mint leaves, bruising them slightly to release the oils with a muddler or wooden spoon. Add rum and bitters. Add ice to fill. Shake well for 10-12 seconds.
2. Strain into a chilled coupe, or french champagne glass.
3. Finish with the 2 ounces of champagne and garnish with a lime twist.
- For the rum: I like 10 Cane as it is made from pressed sugar cane versus molasses and therefore less sweet and more balanced. Otherwise I’ll use Barbancourt 3 star, 4 year or Bacardi Gold which almost always accessible.
- For the champagne: I always use brut champagne. Prosecco just does not come through flavor wise against the other fresh and fragrant components. Veuve cliquot is my go to, otherwise Tattinger.
- I like to retain the specks of mint in my cocktail, but feel free to pour the mix through a tea strainer in step 2 if you wish to remove them.
- I also think this drink tastes best when presented in a wide rimmed ‘coupe’ champagne glass. Much like a vintage accessory, it’s a nod to the classic champagne cocktail craze, and it is a trend that I am determined on bringing back! I love these ones from Kate Spade)
- Garnish: lets leave the mint garnish to the older cubans for now. I use a vertical canelle knife to cut a clean ribbon from the lime garnish. To achieve this, make an incision at the top of the lime, dragging the knife vertically down to the tail. Twist and top off the cocktail. Et voila!