Best Pre-Dinner Cocktails - 2007
Trina - CLOSED
"The harsh, useful things of the world, from pulling teeth to digging potatoes, are best done by men who are... starkly sober... But the lovely and useless things, the charming and exhilarating things, are best done by men with, as the phrase is, a few sheets in the wind." Thus spake the great American philosopher H.L. Mencken in 1924, four years into Prohibition. Seventy years later, we're finally experiencing a cocktail renaissance that would have gladdened Mencken's heart and ravaged his liver. The 2000s appear to be better years for heavy tipplers than even the martini-quaffing '50s. These days, our cocktails are made with fresh-fruit infusions, muddled herbs, and exotic spices. They're as heady and complicated as a witch's love potion, usually to similar effect. The best restaurants hire their own drink wizards, who are charged with putting together not only excellent wine and beer lists but also with inventing dazzling menus of cocktails perfectly calibrated to soften us up for whatever follows. Such is Trina's beverage manager, Nick Mautone, who offers Florida-inflected elixirs like the Ruby Red, composed of pink grapefruit muddled with sugar cane syrup, Patrón tequila and citrónge, then rimmed with red sea salt. Or the retro-Mediterranean Rosey Ramos Fizz, a slurry of Bombay gin, rose water, raspberry syrup, cream, and lemon the sort of drink you can imagine sipping from a chilled thermos while wandering in a Moroccan souk. That Mautone's martinis amply prepare you to tuck in to Chef Don Pintabona's Sicilian-by-way-of-Africa menu is just one of their varied pleasures.