February 01 2012
The new Manhattan restaurant Saxon + Parole is named after two famous 19th-century racehorses – a name that gives a clue to the traditional, American-accented dishes that dominate the menu: Berkshire pork chop ($29), or rib-eye for two ($90). The drinks list is similarly old-school, masterminded by rising-star bartender Naren Young; it’s outlined in big, white letters on a chalkboard on the wall with no-nonsense practicality. So far, so good.
But for one of those classic cocktails, Young has added a curious treat; behind the bar, next to the standard beer taps, is a spigot for Manhattans ($15), the de facto house drink. Essentially, they serve draught Manhattans. The cocktails themselves are a terrific riff on the recipe, using WL Weller 12-year as the base and adding Cocchi Torino vermouth and small batch-bitters.
In flavour terms, there’s no benefit or detriment to serving on draught; simply, it’s about the decadent fun of watching house cocktails being siphoned out rather than stirred. The cocktail is served up artfully, with tangy cherries and an extra swig in a glass thimble sitting on a bed of ice. Now, if only I could install a tap like that at home.