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This week’s drink comes by way of Bryan Schneider, head bartender of seasonally changing restaurant Park Avenue (360 Park Avenue; 212-951-7111) and Maloney & Porcelli, among others.
“When I think about it, I somewhat owe my entire career as a barman to the Pendennis Club cocktail,” Schneider says. “It’s one of those drinks that opened my eyes to what a well-crafted cocktail can be and inspired me to take bartending seriously.”
Schneider, then 22 and right out of college, moved to New York and began his career behind the bar at the Passerby, a tiny slice of real estate bordering Chelsea and the pre–Apple Store meatpacking district. Owned by Toby Cecchini, the bar was part artist hangout, part club-kid haunt — and a great place to learn how to make drinks. Cecchini, who authored Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life and now owns Long Island Bar, served as a mentor to Schneider, and is responsible for introducing him to the Pendennis Club.
“He showed it to me on one of my very first nights behind the stick, and it was perhaps the first cocktail I learned outside of the canon of classic drinks like the Manhattan and margarita that you’re told to memorize as a freshman bartender,” says Schneider. The drink — made with dry gin, Peychaud’s bitters, simple syrup, lime juice, and apricot liqueur — has a special history of its own. The cocktail takes its name from a famous social club in Kentucky that some claim is the birthplace of the old-fashioned and several other drinks.
Schneider has a deep appreciation for the community history that comes along with being a professional bartender. “I like to think about it like folk music,” he says. “There is sort of this traditional canon that a bartender is supposed to know.”
Whenever he gets the chance, Schneider enjoys returning to the places he worked, and enjoys interacting with fellow folk legends behind the bar at Clover Club and Monkey Bar.
Pendennis Club Cocktail (“as we do it at Maloney & Porcelli”)
For the ice cube:
In a 2-inch square ice mold, dash 6 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Fill the rest of the mold with tap water and freeze overnight
For the cocktail:
2 oz gin (Plymouth works great)
3/4 oz Rothman and Winter Apricot Liqueur
1 tsp simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
Shake, then strain into a rocks glass over the Peychaud’s Cube. Garnish with a lime wheel.
“If I had to pick another cocktail to wax about, it would be the Seelbach, on theme here because it is also named after a famous Kentucky institution, the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville,” says Schneider. “I recognize the glory of it. Super-weird recipe on paper. You look at it and there’s no acid element, there’s no juice element. But when you put it together, it comes in the company of everything that’s wonderful about a boozy drink.”
1 oz Bourbon (I like to use a cask strength like Bookers, because why not?)
1/2 oz Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychauds Bitters
Stir together over ice in a mixing glass to chill. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with a long spiral of lemon twist.
Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice.