CJ Arlotta


Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned: Warming Winter Spirits

A bartender places a cherry in the Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned.

Transitioning from fall to winter is a favorite time for many, and the right cocktail, something sweet and smoky, can ease imbibers into the colder months by wrapping drinkers in virtual blankets.

Among classics offering that effect is the old fashioned. But at Grandpa’s Shed, a bar in Stony Brook where antiques, farm tools and framed photographs of grandfathers adorn the walls, mixologists improved on this staple.

“We were trying to find ingredients that would bring winter to you,” says Marios Patatinis, owner of Grandpa’s Shed.

Inspired by smoked cocktails he’d tasted in Europe, Patatinis collaborated with with Deanna Mollica, the bar’s general manager, to incorporate a smoky flavor in what became Grandpa’s Shed’s Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned.

“We wanted to do it a little more robust, so we actually grabbed hold of a torch and a wood plank, and then we went out and did our homework on wood chips and came across Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips,” he recalls. “We fell in love with it.”

Prior to mixing the cocktail’s ingredients, the wood chips are set afire on a wood plank before a rocks glass smothers the flame.

“Not only does it take the drink to the next level, it puts on a show because you walk into the bar and right away you smell the smoke, you see the fire on the bar, and people are intrigued already before they even order the drink,” he says.

They use James E. Pepper’s 1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey for the base since it’s on the sweeter side, with its notes of vanilla, honey, cloves, and chocolate, which fit their preferred flavor profile. And the bourbon’s name harkens back to when some Three Village residents aided General George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring, which gathered intel on British troops.

The duo built on the bourbon’s flavor by adding bitters and maple syrup (the brand is Grandpa’s secret).

“The maple syrup doesn’t mask the bourbon, but in the back of your throat, you get a little bit of that sweetness, almost like a pancake,” Mollica says.

The cocktail is garnished with a Woodford Reserve Bourbon cherry and an orange peel.

“You smell it and are questioning yourself: Am I actually sitting in the pub, and or am I actually outside making s’mores?” Patatinis says.

Grandpa’s Shed is located at 121 Main St. in Stony Brook. It can be reached at grandpasshed.com, 631-675-9263.

Downtown Burger At Five Point Cafe’s New Winter Classic

Come this winter, one of Downtown Burger At Five Point Cafe’s winter classic cocktails is getting a name change.

“A few years back, the former general manager was planning on developing an Irish-themed cocktail menu — [one that would flow better] with the Irish feel and aesthetic of what and who Five Points Cafe is,” says Ruy Alicea, general manager at Downtown Burger At Five Point Cafe in Sayville. “We hold very strong roots in the Irish community, as our owner James Rooney is of Irish descent. He chose the restaurant’s name and its entity to reflect his love, passion and connection to the original five points and Irish community.”

Many of the drinks on the restaurant’s original cocktail menu were “unique and fun,” Alicea says. One of cocktails on that menu was the Irish Kiss, which was popular among cafe guests, but it wasn’t the drink the team today wanted to represent the restaurant.

“We were looking for something that was more of our own signature cocktail, so we played with the recipe by changing juices and mixers,” he says. “We accidentally developed our own take on the Irish Kiss.”

An Irish Kiss calls for Irish whiskey, peach schnapps, ginger juice and orange juice. Combined, the cocktail “leaves you with a sweet, peachy aftertaste,” he says. But would happen if peach were swapped for raspberry?

“We took on the challenge of discovering something new, and we did,” Alicea says. “We called it the Downtown Winter Punch.”

Expected to be on the menu this winter, this twist on the Irish Kiss is made with Irish whiskey, raspberry puree, ginger juice and orange juice. Instead of a sweet, peachy aftertaste, the cocktail has a citrus and raspberry taste, and gives off “great notes from the Irish whiskey,” he says. While the name Downtown Winter Punch won’t be on the menu this coming winter, the same cocktail will be listed — just under another name.

“Over the years, the popularity of this drink has taken off,” Alicea says. “It has a very fall and winter feel, so when it came to this year’s winter cocktail menu, we decided to change the name one last time to the ‘Winter Classic,’ as it’s been with us now for eight years.”

The Manhasset at Publicans: An Oldie But Goodie


There are infinite ways to tweak traditional cocktails. For whiskey lovers craving a twist to a classic, the Manhasset awaits at Publicans, which adds an extra shot to freshen up the Manhattan.

The Manhasset was created in the 1970s by Steve Schnitzer, the original owner of Publicans on Plandome Road, before it closed in 1999. Edison’s Ale House opened in its place and remained until 2016. Publicans was reborn last year as a modern American tavern — and resumed mixing the Manhasset.

“It tastes like a very smooth Manhattan,” Carter Messman, director of operations at the new Publicans, says of the Manhasset.

Behind the bar today are 20 beers on draft, shelves of liquor and subway tiles. Wood paneling, exposed white brick, and paned windows divide the bar and dining area. Burgers, tavern classics, steaks and wings adorn the menu.

Not all is lost from the original Publicans. The Manhasset is still made with the original recipe. The drink made an appearance in Pulitzer Prize-winning author J.R. Moehringer’s 2006 memoir, The Tender Bar.

Unlike the traditional Manhattan, the Manhasset has an additional component to it: a shot of liquor on the side, designed to take the Manhattan cocktail to the next level.

There are several ingredients to Schnitzer’s version of the Manhattan: Evan Williams Bourbon, Carpano’s Antica Formula Vermouth and Regan’s Orange Bitters.

To make the cocktail, simply add the bitters, bourbon and vermouth to a mixing tin, stir and pour over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Grab a shot glass, and pour the additional liquid into it. Garnish the cocktail with an orange peel and zest, and serve.

Combined with the sip-and-shot experience, the Manhasset has notes of cinnamon, orange and oak on top of a classic bourbon taste.

“The orange bitters make the bourbon extra smooth, and the extra shot on the side is an homage to the town and how the little extra is there to satisfy a town that enjoys its drinks,” Messman says.

Publicans is located at 550 Plandome Rd. in Manhasset. They can be reached at 516-627-7722 or publicansmanhasset.com

Greenport’s Industry Standard Mixes Up The Night Market

Pandan infused vodka, left, is a key ingredient in Industry Standard's The Night Market, right.

With a menu consisting of modern takes on traditional pub grub and Asian-inspired dishes, one NoFo bar has a new item on its cocktail menu that’s got customers asking, “What’s the Night Market?”

“Night markets in Asia are my favorite way to experience food, culture and flavor,” says Charmaine Strange, bar manager at Industry Standard Bar, a Greenport gastropub. “They’re full of interesting people, and the vendors are always phenomenal.”

With this in mind, last year she asked her executive chef, Greg Ling, to pick up pandan leaves — commonly used to flavor many Southeast Asian dishes — the next time he was in Chinatown. He obliged, and she infused the pandan leaves in Absolut vodka for a month.

“Pandan leaf is a really interesting flavor profile I [had always] wanted to use,” Strange says. “It’s nutty with a vanilla fragrance, which is really what makes it unique.”

She then combined coconut milk, simple syrup and butterfly pea tea, “which is bright blue and very earthy,” into a stainless steel cocktail shaker with the pandan-infused vodka.

“Butterfly pea tea is super cool too,” she says. “It’s a brilliant blue when steeped, but if you add an acid to it, the color changes. It also has a nice light flavoring similar to green tea — herbaceous but not overpowering.”

After shaking the ingredients, she strained them into a highball glass with ice and black tapioca pearls, also known as boba, resting at the bottom.

“Adding the tapioca just makes it a grown-up boba tea!” Strange says. “The cocktail works really well,” she adds. “The fragrances don’t overpower, and its complementary to the Asian dishes on our menu. It’s light, refreshing and easy to drink.”

When asked how she’d describe Night Market to a curious customer, without hesitation, the bar manager replied, “Something like you’ve never tried before but very Asian.”

“When I make drinks I always try to make something that is exactly the right drink for the person in front of me,” she says. “If I can evoke a memory, then I’ve done my part.”

Industry Standard is located at 45 Front St. in Greenport. They can be reached at 631-333-2500 or industrystandardny.com

The Brixton in Babylon Gets ‘Friendly’ With Unagi

Thomas Crawford, bartender at The Brixton in Babylon, drew from Japanese influences when creating the Unagi. No joke: The Brixton in Babylon named the Unagi, pictured right, after a bit on the sitcom Friends.

Fans of the ’90s sitcom Friends don’t have to study martial arts to get a taste of unagi. Instead, they can hit The Brixton in Babylon for its rum-based, comically inspired cocktail.

The bar’s mixologists named the creation after what David Schwimmer’s character Ross claimed to be a state of total awareness he’d developed from years of studying karate. In reality and unknown to the character, unagi is a Japanese word for freshwater eel. But for The Brixton, the word complemented the cocktail because the combination of Asian ingredients initially sparked the creativity behind the finished product.

“I was at a Japanese restaurant, drinking a beer that had yuzu in it, and I was eating miso soup — something so simple,” says veteran bartender Thomas Crawford, who created the cocktail. “I was noticing how you have that umami flavor that’s cutting through the citrus notes and vice versa. They were really playing well with each other. A style of cocktail I’m a big fan of the sour style cocktail, so I took that inspiration and put it to play in unagi.”

The drink’s ingredients include white rum, nori syrup, yuzu juice, sansho, meringue, egg white and a nori chip.

“It’s a balance between earthy, grassy and bright citrus notes,” he says. “You have the depth of those earthy, grassy notes, but then adding to the complexity, you have the bright yuzu citrus.”

It can be found on the latest themed seasonal cocktail menu at The Brixton, which opened nearly a year and a half ago. Their first menu was hip-hop inspired, including cocktails such as “Going Back to Cali” and “Ride or Rye.” The restaurant, which also puts a heavy focus on concocting craft cocktails, centered its second cocktail menu’s theme around ’ 90s sitcom Seinfeld with drink titles such as “Is that Cashmere?” “Serenity Now!” and “Del Boca Vista.” The latest version is a nod to the staff’s camaraderie.

“The reason why we actually chose Friends is because we all have a really good relationship with one another behind the bar,” Crawford says. “Ariana [the bar manager] didn’t want to take this all on by herself, so we all sat down together, as friends ourselves, and we put our heads together and composed this new cocktail program.”

The unagi was one of Crawford’s contributions to the new cocktail list.

“I’m heavily inspired by Japanese culture, in that I love their form of service,” he says. “In the kitchen, Phil has been playing with Asian ingredients himself. We have a ramen noodle night. We have a steamed pork bun night, so I just wanted to create a cocktail that I think would be able to pair with these foods.”

To make the cocktail, Crawford adds the white rum, nori syrup, yuzu juice and egg white into a cocktail shaker tin. He then vigorously shakes the tin without ice for 10 seconds. He then adds ice and goes back to shaking the shaker with the same strength as before for another 10 seconds. Afterward, he double strains the cocktail into a coupe glass. He then dusts the meringue with sansho and adds a nori chip to complete The Brixton’s Unagi.

“People have been loving it — especially industry people,” he says. “For those who want a really good cocktail to pair with some of the Asian-inspired offerings on our menu, and are adventurous and like to try new things, I think this is a great cocktail.”

The Brixton is located at 111 Deer Park Ave. in Babylon. They can be reached at 631-587-2000 or thebrixtonbabylon.com

The Georgia Special: Long Island Iced Tea’s Southern Cousin

Charlotte’s Speakeasy
Charlotte’s Speakeasy Bar Manager Matthew Zeiss spares no rum in The Georgia Special. (Photo by Jennifer Zeiss)

It’s safe to say most Long Islanders are familiar with Long Island Iced Tea (LIIT), but they’re likely not as acquainted with its not-so-distant Southern cousin, The Georgia Special.

Both cocktails are known for being extra strong, but only one has made it onto the cocktail list at Charlotte’s Speakeasy, which has been making a name for itself in the speakeasy community on LI and beyond. The Georgia Special pulls inspiration from LIIT’s best characteristics and strengthens its faults.

“It’s on the sweeter side,” says Matthew Zeiss, bar manager at Charlotte’s Speakeasy, which can be found underneath Charlotte’s Frozen Yogurt on Main Street in Farmingdale and requires a password for patrons to gain entry. “It’s refreshing. It’s also very dangerous. It’s one of those drinks that you don’t realize how much liquor’s in there because it tastes very good; it tastes like juice.”

The drink was inspired by Robert Butt, who invented the Island’s most famous beverage at the Oak Beach Inn in the early 1970s. But Zeiss, who doesn’t particularly like the taste of LITT, which has five types of liquors, began floating ideas around and mixing ingredients in the hope of concocting his own potent cocktail — one that according to him would “taste good right off the bat.”

The essence of The Georgia Special, also known to many as Zeiss Tea (a nod to LIIT and Zeiss) is peach, a flavor that “goes with a lot of liquor,” he adds.

“I first developed The Georgia Special about four years ago,” Zeiss says. “Originally it had a brand of peach whiskey in it, however, it occurred to me to make a recipe that uses more common speedrack ingredients like Robert Butt’s Long Island Iced Tea to allow it to be made just about anywhere. I then switched out the peach whiskey for Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.”

After the bar manager found the right ingredient mix for the drink, he gave the cocktail its name, which he derived from the simple fact that Georgia’s known to many for its peaches. The Georgia Peach was already taken, so he improvised.

“The only hiccup in the recipe was adjusting the color to be more peachy than the yellow and browns that make up the main ingredients,” Zeiss notes. “I added the splash of cranberry to not only offset the sweet with a little tart but to also turn the color into a more pink/peach hue.”

Served over ice in a Collins glass, The Georgia Special is made up of Captain Morgan, Southern Comfort, Apricot Brandy, Peach Schnapps, pineapple juice, orange juice and a splash of cranberry juice. For the finale, it’s garnished with a peach when the fruit is in season. He uses oranges when peaches aren’t available.

The Georgia Special will give imbibers looking to get the party started early on in the night an extra kick almost immediately.

Guest feedback is often “‘This is dangerous,’ simply because it’s so disguised by its taste that you forget how potent it can be,” Zeiss says.

Charlotte’s Speakeasy is located at 294 Main St. in Farmingdale. It can be reached at 516-586-8530 or charlottesspeakeasy.com

The Gulp of Mexico: Salt & Barrel’s Tiki Cocktail

Tequila-based Gulp of Mexico, a twist on tiki cocktails that traditionally call for rum, was aged in the minds of the mixologists who concocted it at Salt & Barrel in Bay Shore.

One of the oyster and craft cocktail bar’s owners has been holding the five-ingredient drink back for two years due to its complexity — until now.

“The Gulp of Mexico basically came about when I was trying to think of a tiki cocktail,” says Morgan Flynn, who co-owns Salt & Barrel with Ryan Flynn, his sister; his dad, Jim Flynn; and Danielle Grosseto, another partner.

Flynn, 43, who stopped bartending a few years back, swaps rum for tequila as the main spirit in Gulp of Mexico. The cocktail specifically calls for añejo tequila, which is a “big, aged tequila, and it’s full of flavor.” This tequila “plays with all of the other ingredients.”

He didn’t settle on the tequila type until after crafting the majority of the drink. He began with orgeat syrup, an almond-based ingredient commonly found in classic tiki cocktails. Every additional ingredient leads him down another path, but what matters is that everything ends up connecting.

“Basically, to me, when I’m creating something, it’s like a web,” Flynn says. Orgeat syrup pointed him to Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira, an Italian liqueur based on apricots and almonds — “That’s the flavoring of it.”

The amaretto directed him to Giffard Apricot Liqueur, a golden yellow liqueur with almond and apricot notes and aromas. The nutty profile and dry fruit led him to sherry.

“A lot of sherries actually have notes of dry nuts, dry fruit to [them],” he says. It was after adding sherry to the mix that he evaluated tequila types for Gulp of Mexico. “I would say when it comes to cocktail making and stuff, not only does my passion for bartending all those years show through, but also a lot of [the] time I spent in the culinary world — in the kitchens and learning food…” he says.

He based his decision to go with añejo on the following: Blanco would disappear and reposado wouldn’t be “heavy enough.” This left the co-owner with only one option: añejo. Fresh-pressed lime juice pulls the drink together, and it’s the last ingredient to go into the shaker.

“We just want it chilled,” he says. “We don’t want to dilute it.”

The bartender then shakes the cocktail shaker softly, being careful not to dilute the finished product. The chilled liquid is poured over ice resting in a stemless tulip glass.

“It basically looks like a tiki drink,” he says.

The cocktail is then garnished with dehydrated pineapple rind.

“[The cocktail] never made it onto the menu in the beginning,” he says. “It’s a drink that I created a long time ago, but it was so complex. You don’t think five ingredients is that complex, but when you’re trying to make a lot of drinks and you’re doing a lot of stuff, it is a lot.

“Most classic cocktails are three ingredients,” he continues. “You never think that getting two more is that difficult, but it is, and it’s time-consuming. It wasn’t until my bar staff got to the point where I felt comfortable with them — that they could execute this drink when they were busy on Friday, Saturday night — I added it on.”

Added to the restaurant’s bar menu just a few months ago, Gulp of Mexico is for the Salt & Barrel customer who wants a smooth drink with a “little bit of a kick.” Someone longing for summer, toes in sand, and sun rays tanning skin and warming rough seas.

“Knock the Corona over, and have a Gulp of Mexico,” he says.

Salt & Barrel is located at 61 West Main St. in Bay Shore. They can be reached at 631-647-8818 or saltandbarrel.com.

Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails on Fire With Thyme to Smoke

Matt Klapper, the bar manager at Left Coast, warms up one of his signature cocktails. (Photo by Dan Igneri)

Capturing the flavors, scents and feels of a stiff drink served in a Prohibition-era speakeasy is Thyme to Smoke, a Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails concoction that would get Al Capone’s approval.

The popular gastropub in Merrick uses gin as the base spirit for its “classic feel” and green tea-infused white rum to modernize the cocktail. Just mix in sweetener, citrus, its namesake herb and add fire.

“The Thyme to Smoke has actually been on the menu now for a few months because it is wildly popular,” says Matt Klapper, the bar manager at Left Coast. “People have been really responding well to it. Part of it is also because there’s a little bit of a show  involved.”

Gin, which derives its predominant flavor from juniper berries, peaked in popularity during the ’20s since it masked the flavor of poorly distilled alcohol. The green tea- infused white rum is prepared in-house.

“We’ll cold infuse for a few hours,” he says. “You don’t want to let it go too long because then you’re going to get the tannic flavor from the green tea. You don’t want to get the tannins.”

When time’s up, he removes the tea bags and pours the liquid into another bottle. There’s no need to “go too crazy or craft with an infusion,” he says.

Next, the freshly squeezed lemon juice “brightens everything up,” pulling Thyme to Smoke’s ingredients together within the cocktail shaker’s walls.

Of course, Thyme to Smoke would be missing a key ingredient without thyme. Sprigs are dropped into the shaker with everything but a sweetener. Adding turbinado syrup sweetens up the drink a bit. For him, the added sweetness helps the boozy cocktail with maintaining its overall equilibrium.

Despite his initial idea of adding absinthe to the recipe, he settled on green chartreuse, which has “a very unique flavor,” and it’s absolutely delicious.

“I was considering absinthe,” he says, but he ruled it out. “I think that’s kind of overdone these days with a lot of craft cocktail bars.”

To him, the addition of green chartreuse gives the drink the same effect (the same feel, to be exact) he sought.

“You go to the green chartreuse to add an element of, again, something that’s a little more off the beaten path that maybe not everybody knows,” he says. “But if they’re adventurous, willing try it, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised that something they never saw before or are familiar with winds up being as delicious as it is.”

The French liqueur is flammable, which Left Coast’s bar manager took into consideration, not for the “wow” factor, but as a way to fortifythe cocktail.

“You got to make sure that everything you do is improving the cocktail,” he says. “I  figured, let’s throw some thyme in there… for the sake of adding flavor to the cocktail, enhancing it, creating a little more depth and complexity — and set it on fire with the green chartreuse.”

What happens next: The fire, set by a wooden match, continues to char the thyme sprigs until the contents from within the shaker are poured out over the fire to extinguish the flame. To catch thyme chunks, the glass is then strained over ice into a highball glass. The smoked thyme is used as garnish.

“That way when you’re bringing the cocktail to your lips you also get the aromatic of that smoked thyme,” he says. “You can just smell it in the whole restaurant. It’s a really, really wonderful ambiance creator.”

Smoke to Thyme is best sipped, not inhaled.

Manhattan Coffee Company: Honu’s Take on a Classic

Honu Kitchen & Cocktails GM Thomas Nocella adds bitters to the mix.

Making a Manhattan is bartending 101. But mixologists at Honu Kitchen & Cocktails in Huntington mean business with a stimulating new coffee-flavored spin on this classic New York cocktail they brewed up.

They call it Manhattan Coffee Company. The name is a nod to the original Manhattan, which calls for two parts bourbon to one part sweet vermouth and bitters garnished with a maraschino cherry for good measure. Manhattan Coffee Company’s recipe cuts down the vermouth to make room for the cordial — three-quarter part vermouth and one- quarter part cordial.

“The inspiration was just to just bring as many coffee aspects into the cocktail as I could with still keeping the flavors of a traditional Manhattan, keeping the bourbon as the main profile, and then just all the subtle nuances of coffee throughout,” says Thomas Nocella, general manager at Honu, a chic upscale New American hot spot situated on New York Avenue in the heart of downtown Huntington.

Served in a coupe cocktail glass, Manhattan Coffee Company is a sophisticated blend of Hudson Baby Bourbon, González Byass “La Copa” Vermouth, Koval Coffee Liqueur, espresso bitters and coffee dust.

“I try to not use the big companies,” Nocella says. “I just feel like they sell themselves, and if we could give one of the smaller guys an opportunity to get some exposure on a cocktail list, then if I put this bottle on my back bar, it might get ordered.”

The bourbon and bitters are sourced from New York. Spicing up the drink are a shaved orange peel to “bring out some citrus notes,” Nocella says. The coffee dust is made from ground Italian coffee beans. There’s also an Amarena cherry with an added twist in Honu’s Manhattan.

Honu’s Manhattan Coffee Company is an eye-opening new take on the classic cocktail.

“I’m taking those cherries out of the syrup that they come in, and then soaking them in iced coffee to bring coffee throughout the cherry,” he says.

Honu’s Manhattan ages in an oak barrel for at least two weeks. They take two bottles out from the barrel, and then refill the barrel with another two bottles, so there’s always aging going on. Technically, the bartender could serve a two-month aged Manhattan Coffee Company to a customer.

“It doesn’t get a crazy oaky flavor,” Nocella says. “I feel like it blends well, where it melts the flavors together.”

He’s been using the same barrel for more than two years now. Other Manhattan variations have also aged in the barrel, including ones with other base liquors: rum and tequila. Honu during the summer offered a clear Manhattan, which didn’t see any aging, so prior to Manhattan Coffee Company, Nocella dumped in some vanilla whiskey, black cherry whiskey, crème de cacao and port wine. He left the mix to age for three months.

Manhattan Coffee Company’s target customer is the traditionalist on the lookout for a cocktail with a twist, one subtle enough to boast authenticity.

“I would say if you’re not a traditional bourbon or Manhattan drinker, it’s most likely not for you,” Nocella says. “But if you’re a traditional Manhattan drinker, an old-fashioned drinker, [someone who likes] bourbon neat or bourbon on the rocks, it’s something I think would be very eye-opening.”

Honu Kitchen & Cocktails is located at 363 New York Ave. in Huntington. They can be reached at honukitchen.com or 631-421-6900.

Cork & Kerry’s Barreled Boulevardier Improves With Age

Dave Bletsch, mixologist at Cork and Kerry in Floral Park, caramelizes a barrel-aged Boulevardier. (Photo by Michel Dussack)

Replace the gin in a Negroni with an American whiskey and you get the Boulevardier. But for some mixologists, this simple swap of base liquors isn’t enough. Aging the ingredients in a barrel and garnishing the cocktail with a flamed orange twist immeasurably enhances the taste — and is just plain fun.

“It’s really photogenic; it’s a great color,” Doug Brickel, beverage director and co-owner of Cork and Kerry in Floral Park, says of the speakeasy-style craft cocktail bar’s Barreled Boulevardier, which is made up of Old Overholt Rye, Dolin Rouge Vermouth and Gran Classico Bitter. “It’s a bright, rich orange.”

Ascribed to Erskine Gwynne, an American-born writer who founded a monthly magazine in Paris called Boulevardier, the boulevardier cocktail is traditionally composed of two parts bourbon, one part sweet red vermouth and one part Campari. The ingredients are then poured on ice and stirred. It’s garnished with either a cherry or an orange peel.

“I think what you’re seeing now in forward-thinking cocktail bars is a lot of thoughtful reimaginings of classical and neoclassical cocktails through the substitution of carefully selected spirits for their classical counterparts,” he says. “With that thought process, you can generally preserve the original balance of the drink while updating it for the drinking public.”

The beverage boss subbed the Campari with Gran Classico in an attempt to make a more customer-friendly version of the Boulevardier.

“Campari can be a very, very aggressive bitter,” Brickel says.

The two most important ingredients in the Barreled Boulevardier are charred oak and time.

“There was a trend for a while with people with barrel-aged cocktails,” he says. “Taking drinks without fresh components — things that aren’t going to go bad — throwing them in a wooden barrel, and keep it right on the bar. Fill it up, give it seven weeks, and when you pull it out, the whole thing changes.

“It’s going to oxidize,” he continues. “It’s going to get nutty. You’ll get some barrel char off of it, so it will smooth out. The flavor will just change.”

Cork and Kerry batched the boulevardier in February 2016, and it’s been aging in the five-liter barrel, which is charred on the inside — like it would be for bourbon — ever since.

“The barrel was filled up with equal parts of the three ingredients,” he says. “As the level drops to 75 to 80 percent, we refill with equal parts of the same ingredients, ensuring consistency in product while allowing for the flavors to change over time due to contact with air and charred oak.”

The “barrel juice” went from tasting differently day-to-day to week-to-week. The mix’s flavor has remained steady for quite a while now.

“There’s always more old than new,” he says. “The old is always getting older, and if you consider that older is better, every time you pour one it’s the best one that’s ever come out of there.”

The mix develops roundness, nuttiness and depth of flavor in the barrel.

“Over the time it’s taken on the vanilla,” Brickel says. “The vermouth, which you usually want to keep cold because it’s wine based, we let go. It’s been sitting in room temperature for a year and half.”

Cork and Kerry Barreled Boulevardier is also garnished differently than the traditional Boulevardier.

“For garnish what we’ll do is cut a little orange twist and then — the oils on the outside are flammable — so we’ll squeeze it over the drink through a match to caramelize some of the oils,” he says. “It adds a little flavor, and obviously, it’s a fun show.”

Cork and Kerry is located at 143 Tulip Avenue in Floral Park and 24 S. Park Ave. in Rockville Centre.

The flavor of the Boulevardier gets better the longer it’s aged. (Photo by Michel Dussack)