Photo by Gabi Porter
The best time to claim a perch at Forcella Park Avenue's bar is right after work, when pesto-smeared bread is served gratis, and before the loud and hungry swoop into the dining room for chef Giulio Adriani's blistering flash-fried Montanara pizzas. Two-for-one beers might be this happy hour's biggest attraction, but knowing that Dushan Zaric -- of Employees Only and new booze brand the 86 Co. -- dreamed up the cocktail list, I splurged on the El Bloombito.
This elegant drink, at once bitter and bright, combines Santa Teresa "1796" Venezuelan rum with Campari, fresh lime juice and a touch of Zaric's own savory-sweet grapefruit cordial, the recipe for which he guards closely. "The rum holds the sweetness and the Campari together," Zaric notes. "It's a cocktail that keeps changing as you drink it." A mÃ©lange of anise, cinnamon, white pepper and sugar around the rim ensures a spicy depth to each sip.
Although the El Bloombito makes a fine prelude to the wine sure to be swilled at dinner, Zaric assures it's just as welcome a companion to pizza: "There can't be too much tomato sauce; you need meat, mushrooms or olives. It calls for something fatty."
2 oz. Santa Teresa "1796" Rum
Â¾ oz. grapefruit cordial (â¨To make at home, Zaric suggests steeping 2 parts sugar with 1 part ruby red grapefruit juice)
Â½ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
â¨Â½ oz. Campari
Apply blend of anise, cinnamon, white pepper and sugar to the rim of a cocktail glass. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add large ice cubes and shake vigorously for a few seconds. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass and serve.