Best Predinner Cocktails - 2011
Michelle Bernstein's at the Omphoy - CLOSED
Sad-but-true story: For its first year in business, the Omphoy had the honest-to-goodness best cocktail in the universe. Top-shelf gin mixed with grapefruit juice into which fresh basil leaves had been thoroughly muddled and the whole thing topped with a splash of Prosecco. De-freaking-lishus. You could tell the Omphoy took pleasure in the beverage, cuz it called it "The Omphoy." Then, one day, a reporter walked up to the bar, ordered an Omphoy, and was handed some kind of champagne-based thing that tasted like a girl drink. The menu'd changed — but a sweet and sympathetic bartender ran upstairs to the kitchen at Michelle Bernstein's brilliant restaurant to assemble the necessary ingredients, and the evening was salvaged. You can still usually persuade a bartender to make an Omphoy the right way, but if you can't, no sweat: A diverse and inspired cocktail menu rewards the bold imbiber, with an unusually potent "Dark & Stormy," featuring dark Gosling's rum and intense house-made ginger beer; and a singularly decadent cocktail called "Blood and Sand," which combines Johnny Walker Black with cherry brandy, vermouth, and orange bitters into a drink packing more flavor per milliliter than just about any liquid known to humankind.