The circumstances always dictate the right drink, and the quirks are what make them memorable. Last week, I ordered a Brooklyn cocktail at the Dakota Jazz Club, turned around to clap for a bass solo, turned back around and there it was in front of me. I was surprised. I hadn’t heard the rattle of a cocktail shaker, and now I realize that’s the whole point.
Christa Robinson, bar manager at the Dakota, says she likes to build most cocktails in the serving glass out of respect for the artists on stage—she’s not about to play the cocktail shaker in the band. She’d rather people focus on the craft in the glass than the craft behind the bar.
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“By showcasing local distillers and brewers, we are able to put money back into the community that supports us,” she says, “and tell the stories of the people in the neighborhood and introduce traveling musicians and guests to a unique experience.”
Robinson’s Brooklyn cocktail, given a Beastie Boys moniker to match the venue, starts with local rye whiskey (See: Spirits Close-Up) and is finished with orange bitters instead of the usual Angostura. Served in a rocks glass, instead of shaken into a cocktail glass, it was a whole different drink than I had expected—refreshing and sprightly instead of compact and contemplative.
It makes me wonder which other cocktails might be transformed by a change of format. Just like the jazz on stage, if you bring classic elements together in the right proportion, it’s those small idiosyncrasies that make it something unexpected and wonderful.
No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn
2 ounces Far North Spirits Roknar Rye Whiskey
½ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ ounce Dolin dry vermouth
3 dashes Dashfire Vintage Orange No. 1 bitters
Build all ingredients in a lowball with ice. Garnish with a wide swath of orange zest.