Aureole was never known for its cocktails, but with the cocktail Renaissance in full swing, even Upper East Side stalwarts like Charlie Palmer’s flagship restaurant are now offering mixed drinks that tempt a detour from the wine list. Mixologist Ektoras Binikos peppers the summer cocktail list with fresh flavors and seasonal ingredients that mimic the dining menu; in fact, Aureole offers a five-course tasting menu paired with his cocktail creations ($150). For summer, Binikos reaches for the white goods-not just vodka, but rum, pisco and gin-then punctuates the spirits with fresh mint and bright citrus like yuzu and verjus. “I also use a lot of figs because growing up in Greece, that was the summer fruit. And fresh herbs like verbena also find their place in the cocktails,” says Binikos. His Valparaiso cocktail is reminiscent of a mojito, but it’s more aromatic with Aba pisco from Chile. Served in a thirst-quenching portion, this drink gives pinot grigio some serious competition when the heat is on
- 1-5 mint leaves
- 2-3 drop of orange bitters
- 1½ oz Aba Pisco
- ½ oz fig purée
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz verjus
- In a mixing glass, muddle the mint leaves with the bitters. Add ice and remaining ingredients and shake thoroughly. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice.
This story appears in the print issue of June 2010.
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