Grace O'Malley, the fierce 16th-century Irish pirate who spent her suspenseful days capturing castles and plundering fortresses, is shrouded in legend. At Grace -- the new Kips Bay pub named after this adventurous lass -- the cocktails, all dreamed up by modern-day brazen gals, channel O'Malley's daring spirit.
Among the city's female bartenders who lent her savvy to the drink menu is Franky Marshall, of the Dead Rabbit and the Tippler. Her Grace creation, the Belclare, references O'Malley's purported ties to France by the unseemly melding of four French spirits -- Louis Royer's powerful "Force 53" Cognac, Combier Crème de Pamplemousse Rose grapefruit liqueur, Marie Brizard white crème de cacao and Pernod Absinthe with fresh lemon juice.
Amplifying Cognac with soft layers of chocolate was a natural instinct for Marshall, but the grapefruit liqueur -- "sweet and citrusy, neither heavy nor acidic" -- and absinthe-brightened finish make for surprisingly ideal complements to her elegant tipple.
"I generally don't follow 'rules' when it comes to flavor combinations, just put them together and see if they work," says Marshall. "I was looking around the bar, saw all the bottles and it came to me. It was happenstance."
1 ½ oz. Louis Royer "Force 53" VSOP Cognac
¾ oz. Combier Crème de Pamplemousse Rose grapefruit liqueur
½ oz. Marie Brizard white crème de cacao liqueur
¼ oz. Pernod Absinthe
1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in mixing glass. Add ice and shake. Strain into a Martini or coupe glass.