Ask your bartender how easy it is to get a cocktail on the menu—the answer might shock you. Or not. It depends on how much time you spend in bars. If that’s a lot, you already know that these things have become rather corporate. Political. Delicate. Handled between management, brand reps, importers, distributors, suppliers, mixologists and beverage development specialists. It’s about their relationships and the maintenance thereof. So even if Smitty has a winner on his hands, with patrons clamoring for his Smitty’s Kitty cocktail, depending on the bar at which he works, it might never see ink and paper. (Sorry, Smitty. Shoulda gone with that other vodka.)
But when bartenders do get their fair shake (or muddle, or stir), everyone wins!
I was having a drink at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill not long ago when two French-Canadians bellied up. “Gimme somesing tastay!” one declared, affably. Without missing a beat, barman Jose Salinas presented them each with A Kick in the Ding-Ding ($15), made with Belvedere Unfiltered, absinthe, fresh lime juice, house-made lime cordial and bitters. The guys must have put down six each. Soon, nearly all of Salinas’ patrons were declaring that they, too, wanted a Kick in the Ding-Ding. Which is exactly what he wanted. Inspired by the Millionaire cocktail (ordered by asking the bartender to “Make me a Millionaire!”), Salinas envisioned a bar full of thirsty patrons all asking for a kick squarely in the … well, you get the idea. It wasn’t on the menu at the time—just a little something Salinas kept in the back of his mind for these occasions. But it is now, and it always hits the spot.
A Kick in the Ding-Ding
As served at Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill, $15
Rinse a chilled 6-ounce cocktail coupe with 1/8 ounce Lucid absinthe; discard the rest. In a mixing glass, combine 2 ounces Belvedere Unfiltered, ¾ ounce fresh lime juice, ¾ ounce house-made citric lime cordial (try Rose’s) and 2 dashes Boker’s bitters. Add ice, cover, shake and strain into the absinthe-rinsed cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wheel.