So have you heard about The Butterfly? What about the Wallflower? Continuing our NYC’s Best Cocktails of 2014, we bring you two more amazing stops in your journey for boozy glory. Want the appeal of a versatile day to night venue? Then here’s your first stop:
Eben Freeman, Head of Bar Operations + Innovations for the Butterfly takes us through the colorful history of this establishment. “This rocking place maintains its Midwestern roots and has found a home in Manhattan. The club’s tagline has quite a fun story: The name comes from a supper club in Beloit, Wisconsin called the Butterfly Club, and when researching for this location on eBay the owners found a 1950s matchbook for sale with an imprinted logo reading, “Why Not?” This became the restaurant tagline, so we went to a company and had “Why Not?” stamped on all the club’s memorabilia and merchandise. They have exact replica copies of the matchbooks for viewing on their walls and for their uniform tie tacks, which all the men must wear.
Branding the orange slice with its namesake, a nail gives quite a flourish to the cocktail. The slice is then used as a garnish for the finished product, releasing an intense aroma and giving off smoke, really adding to the flair of the Rusty Nail.
The Rusty Nail $15
Eben: We’re part of a larger Italian restaurant group called the Altamarea, so we have a special method of preparing and using this tool called the Nick and Nora Glass. That differentiates us from other places.
Twillory Man: That’s really cool. I’ve never seen, or even heard of this before.
Eben: Yeah it’s nice because you can make like three drinks in this thing. This is vanilla syrup, simple syrup with some vanilla bean. Then I’m going to put equal portions of Drambuie 15, a new product by Drambuie that is using more aged single malt whiskey — it’s called D.
Twillory Man: This isn’t your grandma’s Drambuie, huh? *laughs*
Eben: Exactly, it’s not as sweet. And this is Montelobos Mezcal. This is where we get the smokiness that’d normally be in the drink. Mezcal is gaining popularity but it’s still a little hard for some people to take, so we temper it down with Herradura Reposado tequila. The blend now has equal portions of each one, so I’m going to put ice in this thing and begin swirling. Rather than put the spoon in, we use the foot of the glass to swirl the drink.
Twillory Man: Any particular reason for this?
Eben: Well I’m using the foot so I don’t have to put my hand on the glass and make it warm. A cocktail chef can tell you when you stir or swirl a drink you’re putting a lot of air into it, but by not messing around with a spoon, you’ll see the ice cubes aren’t jumping as much. It’s essentially chilling but not aerating the drink. So then we strain it in a nice full glass, and just take some zest from that orange peel we have and dangle from the edge of the drink from there.
Twillory Man: How long does it take to make the perfect nail imprint?
Eben: It takes practice, but the guys do this during the day. We hoped to have this ready to do for the night but we realized that having a flaming hot poker swinging around is dangerous!
Twillory Man: Probably not the best thing around inebriated people, huh?
Eben: Yeah, so it has to be done before service. But it’s a unique idea and the drink turns out great too.
Twillory Man: Oh yeah, this is really interesting.
Eben: It’s all spirits so it’s a very strong drink, but I think it goes down easier than a Manhattan. *laughs* Good for this time of day.
Now onto a more unknown location that will have you wanting to let your friends in on this insider scoop. The Wallflower is a tiny cocktail bar in the West Village whose drinks pack a seriously tasteful punch. With a homey and intimate vibe, you’ll be spending your weeknights here- if you’re lucky enough to find a space! And what makes it so incredible? That would be “The Dude.” The general manager of the Wallflower, Xavier Herit gave us a little history on this very popular drink.
Xavier Herit: So why is this drink called ‘The Dude?’ The Dude is a drink inspired by the famous movie The Big Lebowski. And do you know what the Big Lebowski loved to drink?
Twillory Man: White Russians!!
Xavier Herit: A White Russian. Yes, correct! And what are the main ingredients of the White Russian? Milk, right? So this cocktail is based on cream and coffee as the main flavors, of course. There are other things in it but those are the main ingredients. We use a Stumptown brew, which is a Portland cold brew coffee, and a flip. A flip is an egg base — a whole egg plus cream in a drink. It’s kind of like the classic New York flip which uses a cognac as its base. The whole egg makes the difference. We take heavy cream and the alcohol and mix to make this drink. These ingredients blend well together and make sense with their flavors.
And on top of having the name ‘The Dude’ we have presentation. We put the drink in an eight ounce, frosted glass milk bottle. So it’s almost like a cocktail dessert really, but it’s surprisingly not very heavy. When you hear the ingredients, it’s scary. You would think like, ‘oh my God, I’m going to break my diet.’ But when you try it, it’s very good with the flavors and textures.
It’s funny because I create the drinks and I usually don’t like flips, but when I create drinks that I normally don’t like, they always come out being very good! *laughs* …Which is not that bad, right?
Twillory Man: You just have that skill!
So how do you make this crafty, novelty drink? Anna, the bartender at the Wallflower, takes us through the process of creating “The Dude.”
The Dude $14
Anna: Okay, so you ordered ‘The Dude!’ You start with a whole egg, just like all traditional flips, with cream added in, so the texture is creamy and delicious but it still has this nice light flavor. Then we add four dashes of Angostura bitters. Bitters add spice to cocktails like oregano and basil. But here we have Angostura bitters, which are the most traditional. Then we add 1/2 an ounce of cream and, of course, 3/4 an ounce of our Stumptown cold brew iced coffee. Then throw in some port to add in a little bit of sweetness, but also to effectively kick in some spice.
Anna: Then a little Demerara sugar, which is like a simple syrup that is made with brown sugar so it’s thicker and richer. Then we do the Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac, which is the booze of ‘The Dude.’ So now that these ingredients are in here, we’re going to combine that egg and the cream without ice so it’s smooth and fluffy and emulsifies the egg in there, which is very important to the integrity of the drink. I promise it won’t taste like a egg, but instead like a creamy, light drink!
Anna: Then after shaking without ice, we add in the ice and give it another solid shaking to combine all of our flavors and steps. Then it all goes in a milk container. We strain it out to make sure it’s smooth and without any little ice shards that may have broken off in the shaking process. Add a little straw to it, and there you have it, ‘The Dude!’ I also like to give the drink a few minutes to sit so that it separates and gets really frothy at the top.
Twillory Man: It looks like chocolate milk, though there’s no chocolate in it …
Twillory Man: *tastes the drink*… Oh my God, that’s really good. It IS like chocolate milk!
Twillory Man: But it’s horrible at the same time because I could devour this in one swig. Nice work — Twillory Man seal of approval!
So delicious that even Twillory Man couldn’t contain his emotions! And what a drink it was! The entire Twillory Team couldn’t resist a sip of this unique and flavorful drink.
That’s it for the best of Cocktails, for now. Now why don’t you Twillory Kids go test out these tasty treats for yourself?