- 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.
Best Cocktail Genius
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
Where can you find the city’s top dog groomer? Last-minute tailor? Beef tongue? We eat, drink, dance, shop, shvitz, and trampoline our way around the city, not to mention poll scores of in-the-know colleagues, hard-partying friends, opinionated family members, and, this year, a team of guest expert bloggers to bring you answers to all of the above questions, and hundreds more, in the form of our annual “Best of New York” issue.