SHRUBB YOUR SHOULDERS.jpgOne does not sashay into a nightclub with the hope of indulging in captivating, well-crafted cocktails. When a DJ spins, the glass in hand is as much an accessory as the evening's requisite bling. Yet at Little Italy hotspot GoldBar, head bartender Tim Cooper's drinks are the center of attention. Before the stiletto-heeled party gals arrive, sit amid ornate chandeliers, oil paintings and shimmering skull-lined walls before ordering one of Cooper's concoctions, like the frothy Shrub Your Shoulders with Colorado-made Spring 44 gin, egg white, lemon juice, club soda and his own vibrant winter citrus shrub.

While sipping a raspberry drinking vinegar at Pok Pok one night, Cooper was jolted with inspiration by the sweet-tart beverage. "I thought it would be a great way to add a different profile to cocktails," he says. So, he made a Whole Foods run, bought a variety of vinegars and tinkered with them until he mastered a recipe for a winter citrus shrub with blood orange vinegar, tangerine juice, sugar and Averna Amaro. "If people are going to trust me to put vinegar in a drink, I feel it's necessary the flavors aren't over the top," he points out. The tangy and ethereal Shrub Your Shoulders, Cooper adds, "is just a nice play on a fizz, but a bit more complex and layered. It comes out looking like an orange Creamsicle, starting orange at the bottom and gradually turning white at the top--and it actually tastes like one."

There are a number of reasons to splurge on dessert before dinner. With Chinatown soup dumplings just a short stroll away, this is one of them.

2 oz. Spring 44 Gin
*1oz. Winter citrus shrub
ΒΌ oz. lemon juice
Egg whiteClub soda
Long orange peel garnish
Served tall
*12 oz. blood orange vinegar
10 oz. tangerine juice (throw in skins after juicing)
12 oz. sugar
1 1/2 oz. Averna Amaro

Place all ingredients (except Amaro) into a saucepan. Turn heat to medium and stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn heat down and let simmer for 15 min. Turn off heat and let cool. Strain into a non-reactive container. Add the Averna amaro. Pour into a bottle and store in fridge to mellow for a few days before using.

*Ingredient optional

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