The True Bleau cocktail contains Barr Hill gin, grapefruit soda, and a massive spherical indigo ice cube infused with pea flowers.
Sorso, which means "sip" in Italian, makes guests want to do just that when mixologist Daniel Love pours creative cocktails using seasonal herbs, flowers, fruits, nuts, and spices. Customized libations are also part of the concept.
"We want this program to be multifaceted," beverage director Sy Ali explains. "It's for veteran drinkers who can come and really geek out or for somebody who just drinks casually and can find a fruit-forward, easy, colorful cocktail. This is for everybody."
The pop-up is located in the lounge and patio area of Scott Conant's chic Italian eatery. Guests are greeted by two large cold-brew towers that look like they were snagged from Dr. Frankenstein's lab.
"The whole thing started with these two beautiful Japanese cold-brew infusions that are used for tea and coffee," Ali says. "Of course bartenders got their hands on it and decided to have some fun."
Cocktails prepared in the infusion tower are the Garden High Ball ($17), made with Stoli vodka infused over cucumbers, basil, and tomato and finished with yuzu tonic; and Eye Candy ($17), made with Woodford Reserve bourbon infused over almonds, vanilla beans, and dried apricots and finished with Amaro Montenegro in an orange-peel smoked glass.
Crave ($17) is another crowd pleaser. A mix of watermelon-infused Russian Standard vodka, Aperol, cranberry, lime, and mint is topped with Fantinel rosé prosecco and served with a watermelon garnish.
If you like spicy, order the En Fuego ($17), which translates to "on fire." Served in a giant beaker, it contains fresh Corazón tequila infused with fresh serrano and dried ancho peppers, Sauvignon Blanc, lemon, and agave and is garnished with pink peppercorns and a whole serrano pepper.
There are also plenty of mocktails using house-made infusions, shrubs, and syrups such as watermelon-mint, raspberry-grapefruit, and blackberry-lime. The pineapple soda ($17) uses roasted pineapple syrup, vinegar-based pineapple shrub, fresh pineapple juice, and Fever-Tree ginger ale.
"We roast pineapples on big stakes and put them on a flat-iron grill," Love explains.
"It really caramelizes the sugar," Ali adds.
Chef Conant has prepared small bites to complement the libations. The lineup includes herbed potato chips ($6), wild mushroom arancini with truffle oil ($10), and pork and veal polpettine ($15).
Customized cocktails are a driving force behind the pop-up as well. "The whole point is a much more interactive experience between the guest and the bartender," Ali explains. "It's a one-on-one experience with cocktails made just for you, maybe using the same infusions but done in a different way."
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