Friday, September 08, 2006

Mastering Margaritas

Cocktails in Manhattan are dangerous for your wallet. The cost of a drink at nice bars these days hovers around $12. A week ago we noticed that a martini at John’s Pizzeria in Times Square costs $13.25. In a pizzeria! So when we find a watering hole with a good deal, we pounce. When we first stumbled up the street to Harry’s Burritos, we were not impressed by the food. But the margaritas were pretty good, with a nice selection of tequilas at a reasonable price. In addition, they have a happy hour from 5 to 7, and another from 10 to 11. During that time, their house margaritas are $3, and beer is $2. This is exactly the type of deal that we are hoping to unearth on this page. Stop by Harry’s, and be sure to tip the bartender, who has the good sense to be named Travis. Recently we discovered another great deal just across the street from Harry’s: the recently redesigned China Fun. They added a cocktail menu that features $5 drinks, $5.50 for better quality liquors. We had Bombay Sapphire Martinis at China Fun just last night, and thought we’d gotten away with a steal.

While we’re on the subject of cocktails, these are some of our favorite cocktails to make for friends or to order at bars. The best cocktail book we’ve found is Ultimate Bar Book, by Mittie Hellmich (Chronicle Books).
  • Martini (I like Bombay Sapphire gin, dry but not very dry, with olives)
  • Margarita (on the rocks, usually no salt)
  • Old-Fashioned (Bourbon, orange, bitters, sugar, rocks)
  • Manhattan (Bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, cherry, straight-up)
  • Presbyterian (Whiskey, ginger beer, club soda, candied ginger, lemon twist, rocks)
  • Horse’s Neck (Same as Presbyterian, no club soda, add bitters, lemon peel)
  • Godfather (Bourbon, a little Amaretto, rocks)
  • Mojito (Light rum, lime juice, mint, sugar, club soda)
  • Sazerac (Bourbon, dash of Ricard, bitters, sugar, lemon, rocks)
  • Negroni (Gin, campari, sweet vermouth, club soda, orange slice)
  • Sidecar (a great use of brandy - I use a slice of clementine, grand marnier or cointreau, straight up, no sugar on the rim)

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