Cocktails as health drinks? In your dreams. Still, every day, it seems, another hotel bar announces an ingredients purge – out with processed juices, prefab mixes and high fructose corn syrups and in with fresh squeezed juice (complete with traces of pulp), mint leaves and sliced fruit.
Bars at boutique hotels, like the Royalton’s revamped Forty-Four, have led the all-natural, fresh-everything, organic-when-possible charge. But when New York Central, Grand Hyatt New York’s glass-enclosed restaurant, opens today following a suitably grand-scale renovation, you won’t find items like Rose’s Lime Juice and Tropicana Orange Juice in the bartending fridge.
“It’s all about taste,” says bartender Kevin Draper, who plans to spend a chunk of his shift squeezing juices. “Drinks taste clean and crisp when everything’s fresh.”
To toast the bar’s sleek, ice blue surroundings, ten new cocktails headline the drinks menu. All sport New York themes: a
revamped cosmo made with guava juice instead of cranberry is called Mr. Big, while Madison Square is a riff on a Margarita (with fresh lime juice). Classic cocktails score classic ingredients, like the Mad Men-era martini made from Plymouth Gin, Dolin Vermouth and Rhubarb Bitters.
Sounds promising if confusing. A Manhattan made with Makers Mark and Antica Sweet Vermouth is . . . an Elliott Ness? Huh? Isn’t Manhattan in New York?
Whatever. There’s always health. Draper slips a slice of starfruit on the rim of a Mr. Big. “Your vitamin C,” he says.