On a recent trip to New York, I was staying at the Park Central hotel just south of Central Park. I found myself one afternoon staring out my hotel window, and thinking about where I should go for lunch. I briefly thought about some of the places I'd been to in the past, but where is the fun in that? I wanted to try something new, but not being a native New Yorker, I wasn't quite sure what I should try.
As I stood there, pondering my next meal, I suddenly realized that I was actually staring at an interesting restaurant down on the street. Molyvos the quaintly painted sign said, and based on the number of people I saw coming and going, it looked like it was perhaps a reasonably popular location, even though I had no idea what sort of food they specialized in.
Still not quite sold on this as a choice, I cautiously approached the restaurant and checked out the menu from the street. Ahhh... a Greek restaurant! It had been a while since I've had Greek cuisine, and so this would definitely be a welcome choice.
Still being fairly early, the counter at the bar was still empty, and so I decided that it might be worthwhile to not only have a nice meal, but also to check out the bartenders here, and the cocktails that they might specialize in. The recipes on my own site are distinctly devoid of any Ouzo cocktails, and I was curious if they might have any that might capture the essence of this traditional Greek beverage.
For my meal, I ordered the Moussaka, I figured that this would be an excellent way to get an idea of their overall approach to Greek cuisine, it was fabulous! But of course, more important were their cocktails. After mixing up a reasonable Old Fashioned, we then switched over to what this bartenders personal specialty might be. At first, he seemed a little timid and cautious about suggesting anything, but then the wine director, who was working at the end of the counter suggested that he mix up the new drink that he was working up, and that he had served him earlier that day. At this, the bartender's eye's lit up, and quickly set about to work. We quickly struck up a conversation as he assembled his ingredients, and it was clear that he was a dedicated and passionate bartender. His name was Tal, and he revealed to me that he was also a trained French chef, and that he tried to bring the same level of flavor combinations and balance to the cocktails that he made. This was clearly a bartender who shared many of the same cocktail concepts as I do myself. The cocktail he mixed up for me was one that he was tentatively calling the "Greek Spring Punch", and was a delightful mixture of wine, Muscat, ouzo, fruit juices and a mint garnish. It was light and refreshing, and the ouzo, a spirit that few consider using in cocktails, was well nestled amongst the other ingredients.
I would highly recommend Molyvos for a visit on your next trip to New York, either for their excellent Greek food, or the wonderful libations at the bar.
|Greek Spring Punch
- 3 ounces semi-dry white wine
- 1 ounce muscat
- 1 ounce ouzo
- 1/2 ounce orange juice
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce pinapple juice
- 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
- 1 ounce cinnamon infused simple syrup
|Shake, then strain into a wine glass and garnish with mint and an orange wheel. Created by: Tal for Molyvos