During these first weeks of summer, over-worked bartenders on both sides of the Atlantic have shaken themselves silly. In London, barflies like Naomi Campbell call for the Rubabu, a rhubarb infused sake concoction served at Zuma. At New York’s trendy Bungalow 8, the Strawberry Mojito is the drink of choice. And the high-concept cocktails just keep on coming. “They’re drinks that say, `I’m on my island, hanging out, sipping my drink,”‘ notes Bungalow bartender Joe Arongino. “As soon as one person orders one, everyone wants one.” But in Los Angeles — where most who drink also have to drive — Vine’s Lemon Ginger Drop is gaining momentum. It’s made with lemon juice, ground ginger and soju, a gentle Korean potato liquor. “We’re a nice social bar,” says Ken Garito, bartender at the hipster hang. “It’s not about pounding drinks.”
But Parisian bar master Thierry Hernandez has raised the cocktail to couture levels. At the Plaza Athenee, he serves up bright mojito and Cosmopolitan flavored Jelly Shots, not frat-style in a Dixie cup, but sushi-style on a platter. Sound confusing? Hernandez also mixes up a little something called Thierry’s Mind, quizzing his clients, then crafting drinks to suit every psyche.”
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.