There is no easy or difficult way of making a cocktail. As the book Elements of Style concludes: “The longest way round is usually the shortest way home.” In the case of a cocktail, it’s all about capturing a multifaceted story that is told by the mixture of the ingredients, the establishment that the cocktail is consumed in, and the artistry of the person preparing it. Sipping on the Knickerbocker Hotel at 1 Knickerbocker made me realize this great story of composition.
John Nutter adding the Plymouth gin to start off the Knickerbocker Hotel.
The first step in that process comes with the mixture of the spirits. The Knickerbocker Hotel is made in the dosage of a perfect Martini. This means that gin is mixed with equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth. In the case of the Knickerbocker Hotel, Plymouth gin is stirred with equal parts of Dolin Rouge and Dolin Blanc. These ingredients play a key role in this cocktail, since they are ones that raise strong opinions from bartenders in regards to their quality. On the one hand, according to the bartender that night, John Nutter, Plymouth gin is the most appropriate gin to produce martinis with. On the other hand, according to Tribeca bartender Adam Reid, Dolin vermouth is the smoothest and most interesting vermouth to make martinis. Stirred with some orange bitters, garnished with nice big orange peel, and served in classic tall coupe glass, the Knickerbocker Hotel is definitely a drink that will raise eyebrows around the bar.
“The Knickerbocker Hotel is a more round cocktail, much better than a typical martini,” said John talking about the drink. It helps since the drink is served in a more round bar. The way the bar is designed and highlighted at 1 Knickerbocker supports a grand cocktail like the Knickerbocker Hotel. The ample space, the feel of the bar, the stools, the nice lighting; all these are small details that are overlooked but definitely contribute to a drinking appetite, one that can only be nourished with classic, yet enhanced cocktails like the Knickerbocker Hotel and the Chorus Girl’s Milk. It is a bar with full potential for the debauchery that it represents from the prohibition era.
Having the ideal number of the martinis.
There is nothing more beautiful than when a composition like that takes place. Slowly sipping into one cocktail to another brings you to another atmosphere, it subdues you with its rituals and terms, and from there you find yourself floating in this liquor-infused, spirit-driven fantasy land.
Bushwick Mixer is a weekly column somewhere at the crossroads of pop culture and mixology in the bars of Bushwick. Hashtag your photos of Bushwick cocktails with #BushwickMixer and let us know why they should be tasted by the author of the column.
The Knickerbocker Hotel is served at the 1 Knickerbocker, at the corner of Knickerbocker Avenue and Johnson Avenue for $11.