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Best of New York Nightlife 2004

Best Cocktail Genius

  • Audrey Saunders, Bemelmans Bar

    35 East 76th Street, 212-744-1600

    How can anyone go to Bemelmans Bar and not order a real drink? After all, a bottle of Amstel Light not only demeans the super-swanky setting but, given the availability of such a spectacular cocktail list, unequivocally marks one as a rube. Beverage director Audrey Saunders, a disciple of legendary bartender Dale DeGroff and a gifted mixologist in her own right, sweats the details—the orchid balanced precariously on the rim of a Concord Cup, the boutique bitters made by a friend—and has inspired her old-school staff to do the same. She works late and stays up later, feverishly tinkering with drinks-in-progress before they earn a place on her seasonal menu. Recent triumphs have included the delectably sweet-and-sour hot port sangaree and the bittersweet, slightly effervescent ChamPino. But Saunders’s appetite for innovation never overrides her deep-seated respect for the classics, which makes Bemelmans the perfect place for the perfect martini, too.

From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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