Could it be that our beloved godchild, Tailor, whose gestation we chronicled so patiently last year, is taking its first steady steps? After absorbing the blows of the blogosphere for its first months, it has made adjustments. First, mixologist Eben Freeman’s cocktail program acquired its own identity and made the downstairs bar a destination; then Sam Mason and Fran Derby got the message that nobody wanted to eat food the size of Kit Kats and expanded the portion size; and now, at last, Tailor has thrown in the towel on its pretense of low-key anonymity and put an honest-to-God sign up on the door. What's next? Big-screen TVs? Once the philistines get ahold of you, there's nothing left but prosperity and degradation.
Cocktail master Eben Freeman of Tailor, having already taught us the secrets of the Hard Shake, has gone back into his cocktail lab and created one of the most compelling forms of liquor we’ve seen in a while: Tailor’s new “solids,” a series of edible cocktails. There are currently three on the restaurant’s menu: a Cuba Libre, consisting of rum and coke gelatinized into a cube (hence the name); a Ramos Gin Fizz Marshmallow (“the drink made properly is all meringue anyway, so why not make it a marshmallow?”); and his crowning achievement, the White Russian Breakfast Cereal. The last amounts to a Rice Krispies treat made by soaking the cereal in Kahlúa, dehydrating it, repeating that process, and then soaking it in vodka, sugar, and half-and-half. “Cocktail geeks are coming in and asking me all these questions,” Freeman complains. “This is just to have fun!” And, he adds, soberly, to “push the boundaries” of mixology. No wonder they’re curious.
Related: Video: Eben Freeman of Tailor Imparts the Secrets of the ‘Hard Shake’
PDT’s winter cocktail menu debuted last night, and we are still hung-over. Mixologist Jim Meehan consulted his peers for the menu, which includes contributions from Pegu’s Audrey Sanders, Tailor’s Eben Freeman, “International cocktail maven” Charlotte Voisey, and others. There’s even a nod to Adam Platt in the description of PDT bartender Don Lee’s Benton’s Old Fashioned, a combo of bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and angostura bitters: “the crossroad of Haute Barnyard and Barroom.” (If this keeps up, we’re going to have to add Haute Barnyard to the banished-words list soon.)
Eben Freeman of Tailor isn’t just a bartender. He isn’t even a mere mixologist. We’ll go ahead and say it: Eben Freeman is a cocktail guru. Who else could have imported the secret maneuver of the "hard shake" to our shores from its hiding places in Japan and Slovakia? No one. And that’s why we present this video, of how to perform the hard shake, for your viewing pleasure. Click on the photo to watch.
This month’s Food & Wine brings a pretty illuminating profile of Eben Freemen, the resident cocktail genius at Tailor (and the one man who has come through the review process completely unscathed). Freeman talks about his current creations, such as smoked Coke and brown butter rum, not to mention some of his more outré plans, such as alcoholic breath strips and a Coppertone-flavored cocktail (“That would be the ultimate summer drink.”)
Welcome to the latest installment of the Launch, where Sam Mason, former pastry chef at wd-50, relates the ups and downs of preparing to open Tailor, the swanky restaurant and lounge coming together at 525 Broome Street.
We’re not the only ones following Sam Mason’s path to power at Tailor: The April issue of Food Arts has an excellent article on the cocktail program at the restaurant-lounge. (It’s not online, but we’ve scored a PDF.) Given that Mason’s mixologist, Eben Freeman, made his bones alongside the chef at the cutting-edge wd-50, it’s no surprise that the drinks are wild sounding. The magazine gives descriptions and recipes for four of them, including a Lychee Daiquiri With Soy Caramel, a Butternut and Falernum cocktail (“a bit like butternut squash soup –with a kick”), and a Brandy Truffle Flip. With drinks that rich, who’s going to be hungry enough to eat?
Tailor Made [Food Arts]
Related: The Launch