The ladies who lunch at Cafe Boulud, the Upper East Side bastion of refinement, have been keeping a secret. The cocktail menu at the sister venue Bar Pleiades, from head bartender Darryl Chan, is as witty and inventive as the food. One of the standouts is the Last Caress, which features Chartreuse and grapefruit granita topped with juniper berries and champagne.
Now, as a rule I never turn down a glass of champers, but I’m here to tell you that this cocktail is just as amazing served as a mocktail, swapping in Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon mixer for the bubbly. And let’s face it—there are those occasions when it’s more prudent to steer over to the less boozy side of the menu. Here, the Fever-Tree adds a clean, not cloying, hit of lemon with the subtle bitterness of quinine (a component of tonic water). The result is a drink that’s pretty in the glass and refreshing on the palate.
Bar Pleiades, in The Surrey Hotel, 2o East 76th Street, New York City