‘Gimme the Usual’

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If you’re doing your sworn duty as a regular bar patron, one or more bartenders somewhere in this town should know your flavor and spirit preferences. More than just reflexively reaching for your usual as you file through the door and claim your usual seat, he or she should be able to guide you to similar drinks that might appeal to you or, under the best of circumstances, even create something original just for you. Me, I’m an easy mark: whiskey, artisan liqueurs and Italian amaros, stirred Negronis on the rocks with plenty of Campari and, more recently, craft beer.

At Artifice, bartender Jillian Tedrow created the Easy Tiger, “a fun, lighthearted take on a classic,” for one of the downtown watering hole’s loyal regulars who also loves Negronis. Like that classic, Easy Tiger is grounded in gin and Campari, but instead of a dose of sweet vermouth, Tedrow uses yellow Chartreuse, sweeter when compared with the green formula. Also, instead of a good stir, a shake and a splash of sweet and sour adds a tart note and makes the booze-heavy drink just a little more accessible to the masses. A cocktail purist might faint at hearing this but, Tedrow says, “Mixology is about bending the rules, pushing boundaries, making it your own, and [pun clearly intended] mixing it up.” Especially for regulars, the customer who is even more right.

Easy Tiger

As served at Artifice Bar & Lounge, $11

In a pint glass, add 1½ ounce Hendrick’s Gin, ½ ounce Campari and ½ ounce yellow Chartreuse. Add ice, cover, shake and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Fill with fresh sour and garnish with a lemon twist.

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Squid Ink Pasta Carbonara at Valentino

Squid Ink Pasta Carbonara at Valentino

Chef Luciano Pellegrini makes this amazingly rich off-menu dish from scratch, using special Italian pasta flour from Pasini with 10 eggs per kilo of flour and three tablespoons of squid ink. The ink, he says, adds “mild flavor and the richness of the sea.” He then rolls it out, cuts it into thin squares and tosses it with house-cured guanciale (hog jowl) and lobster meat. A sprig of thyme is added, followed by the chef’s carbonara mix (egg yolk, half-and-half and shallots), drizzling it all with extra virgin olive oil before serving. You’ll skip dessert.