Last year, there were few bar openings more anticipated than the Cuban-inspired BlackTail at the southern tip of Manhattan. It was created by rock-star bartenders Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, whose first U.S. establishment, the Dead Rabbit, has been named best bar in the world several times.
However, BlackTail has not only survived the intense pressure and scrutiny in its first year but has actually thrived. At last month’s industry conference, Tales of the Cocktail, it was named best new American cocktail bar. Not too shabby considering that it was up against some very stiff competition, including San Francisco’s Wildhawk.
But BlackTail and its head bartender Jesse Vida aren’t satisfied and to celebrate the spot’s first anniversary there’s a brand-new menu that they just began serving. It features 40 drinks and runs the gamut from traditional classics you’d find in Havana, like a Daiquiri and a Mojito, to new concoctions and original takes on traditional recipes. It also includes a short story written by crime journalist T.J. English about the history of Cuban nightlife and the role that gangsters Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano played in its rise and downfall.
The next time you’re in New York you need to stop by BlackTail. Here are five of the most interesting cocktails on its menu.
No trip to Havana (or BlackTail, for that matter) would be complete without enjoying at least one Mojito. It’s an incredibly simple but elegant mix of Panamanian Caña Brava Rum, fresh lime juice, muddled mint leaves and a dash of Angostura Bitters. While it’s easy enough to master at home, it somehow always tastes better when you’re drinking one at BlackTail.
Frozen Pina Colada
BlackTail’s frozen Pina Colada looks deceptively easy, but this version has an impressive 10 ingredients, including several syrups, different kinds of rum and even a bit of saline solution. This is one drink best left to the professionals to make.
This stiff drink was created by Vida and is his take on a rum Manhattan. It includes an interesting mix of ingredients and features a Brazilian banana liqueur, sweet Italian vermouth, cinnamon, ginger and, naturally, two kinds of rum.
While the Big Kahuna is listed in the bar’s punch section, it’s not like any punch I’ve ever seen before. The drink combines Puerto Rican Rum, strawberry, orange, carrot, Greek yogurt and bitters.
The secret to this gloriously cold and creamy concoction is Guinness syrup and an egg. The base of the drink is a mix of brandy, applejack and Jamaican rum. Curaçao, Port, banana and nutmeg complete the drink.