One of the reasons Meaghan Dorman’s cocktails have been so well received is that she leaves a spot on her menu to incorporate a simple, time-tested drink. At the Bennett (134 West Broadway; no phone), over a dozen specialty cocktails are on offer, but with a bartender like Dorman, whose past credits include stints at such fixtures on New York’s cocktail map as Dear Irving and Raines Law Room, you know that each drink is worth a thousand sips.
You should start off with the namesake cocktail when visiting the Bennett (because you can’t name a bar after a bad drink). “I always have a pretty straightforward sour drink,” Dorman says. A riff on the gimlet, which, like so many cocktails, gained popularity in the 1920s, the Bennett mixes Angostura bitters with fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and gin. The result is a drink that’s refreshing, not too overpowering, and pairs well with several dishes — Dorman’s suggestion is the Bennett’s cauliflower croquettes filled with blue cheese. The contrast of fried cauliflower with pungent cheese works perfectly with the gin-and-lime-juice combination, ensuring each of the flavors gets a turn to star on your taste buds.
The Bennett’s food menu is the most extensive Dorman has worked with for any of her openings, and she says the Bennett cocktail is a perfect way for guests to work up an appetite: “You can drink a few of them and not get too bogged down.” The updated twist in this classic recipe is a house-made lime cordial composed of sugar, fresh lime juice, and a dash of cinnamon. The addition of bitters is also important because it balances out the sweet and sour flavors.
The Bennett by Meaghan Dorman
2 ounces gin (Dorman recommends a London dry gin for its floral notes)
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup (one part sugar to one part water)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake everything vigorously with ice in a shaker and strain the mixture into a glass.