“Customers used to apologize if they ordered liquor here - heaven forbid you drink a gin and tonic in a wine bar - so I convinced Jason to let me create a cocktail list.” Vintage general manager Kate Moroney had to press a bit to get her specialty drinks on the official menu at the Midtown Village wine bar, and here’s how she finally won over owner Jason Evenchik: every cocktail in the lineup uses wine as an ingredient.
“I saw it as a really fun personal challenge,” Moroney continues, “I have a lot of drinks experience - I was a beverage manager for Starr for years, and my brother (Ian Moroney) owns Pumpkin restaurant - and I’ve never seen a cocktail list that highlighted wine.”
Constraints can lead to inspired creations. The Lay Low, for example, is a Negroni in which the vermouth has been swapped out for much lighter Lillet Blanc, creating a tangy gin drink that’s much more suited to summer than the heavy classic. In the Manhattan Port Authority, sweet vermouth trades out for ruby port. The White & Wild is a successful but dangerous sip, because the St. Germain, tequila and Sauvignon Blanc combo is way too easy to drink, considering its octane.
“The only thing you have to remember is these cocktails are going to be strong, since wine is the mixer, instead of juice or soda,” Moroney warns, “but they’re lots of fun.” The drink menu will change with the seasons; check out this summer’s options below.
Vintage Wine Bar Summer 2013 Cocktails
White & Wild ($10)
Espolon blanco tequila, Sauvignon Blanc, lime, St. Germain
French 22 ($9)
Ketel One vodka, Luxardo maraschino, lemon juice, sparkling wine
Manhattan Port Authority ($11)
Makers Mark whiskey, ruby port, orange bitters
Lay Low ($12)
Bluecoat gin, Lillet Blanc, Campari
Vintage Sangria ($8)
red wine, brandy, orange juice, sugar