Whenever I’m asked what is the trend now in cocktail culture I always have trouble pinpointing one. But if I have to choose one in NYC it would have to be the table side cocktails, where your cocktail is made right in front of you on a wheeled cart, and in some cases you’re invited to play bartender as well. The BBC has unfolded a list of bars in NYC taking this approach:
Maloney & Porcelli: “As you relax in a burgundy leather booth, waiters in plaid ties and white vests mix martinis to order ($14 each) atop gleaming two-tier stations with compartments for liquor bottles, cocktails glasses and a tray of garnishes.”
the NoMad: “Order the updated spin on bottle service available in the restaurant’s burnished Library bar. Purchase a bottle of liquor ($250 to $275 for the equivalent of 15 cocktails) and a custom-built cart will be wheeled to your seating area, complete with shakers, spoons, mixers and garnishes, plus an insulated drawer holding special long-lasting ice cubes made from purified water in a special ice machine. The cart is designed for do-it-yourself cocktailing, but if you’re a mixology novice, staff will fix drinks to order or even stage an impromptu lesson.”
Noir: “A newly opened bi-level restaurant and bar in midtown, drinkers can purchase scotches, cognacs and whiskeys by the ounce ($25 to $45 per fluid ounce) from an antique-looking cart that is wheeled to your seat. Drinks ordered on the rocks are chilled via large spherical ice cubes that both look elegant and melt more slowly”.
Cienfuegos: “The bar is known for its fruity cocktails and shareable punches, and Hemingway himself would surely approve of the new tableside daiquiri cart ($15 each), where every step of the process, from squeezing lime juice to chipping ice, is performed in front of the customer, who is able to select from a choice of several rums.”
Bar Seven Five: “Cocktails ($13 to $18) are finished tableside. Both the many-shelved carts and the miniature shakers are modelled on those once used in Pullman train cars during the US railway boom of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Bartenders get each drink started at the butcher block bar area, then do the rest at guests’ tables for an up-close experience.”