If you want to break into the cocktail scene but do not feel too adventurous, head over to Blacktail, a Cuban-themed bar in Lower Manhattan, for their rum and cola. The drink is a fancy twist on the traditional Cuba Libre. It starts with aged Bacardi and Coca Cola syrup, then gets a splash of champagne, a bit of Fernet Branca, and house-made bitters. It’s the city’s best way to elevate your same old bar standby.
Lovers of rum and fruity cocktails alike can also give the bar’s daiquiris a try. Though daiquiris have become synonymous with chain restaurants and tropical vacation resorts, the ones at Blacktail are, like the rum and coke, surprisingly elegant takes on bar favorites. They come in banana, strawberry, lime, and pineapple and are made with care and flair, with such mixological elements as cooking the fruits sous vide before adding them to the drinks. The daiquiri recipes are the result of extensive research on Cuban drinks from Prohibition to the 1960s.
Blacktail’s other cocktail selections are just as innovative. Unique ingredients like absinthe, Sriracha, pear soda, rose petals, and yuzu grace the huge tome of a drink menu, which spans 78 pages and features over 40 drinks. Each cocktail will set you back $16, so choose wisely.
Jack McGarry, a managing partner at Blacktail, stresses that while his cocktails are interesting and unique, “a great drink doesn’t have to have 20 ingredients.” He explains that instead of just piling ingredients into a glass, his team puts a lot of work into perfecting each cocktail, editing every 2 weeks. “A drink might go through as few as 10 to 15 versions,” he says, “or as many as 40 to 50.”