Spring Cocktails with Natasha David
By the time spring arrives, New York is more than ready for a little fizz and frivolity. To further compliment the sense of lightness permeating the city, we enlisted the help of award-winning bartender Natasha David, whose eclectic and playful approach to drink making is on full display in her new book Drink Lightly: A Lighter Take on Serious Cocktails. Here, David shares her go-to spots in NYC for a spring cocktail and a couple of her own recipes to try at home.
What makes a perfect spring cocktail?
Natasha David: Well if you’re a New Yorker, you’ve just endured months of frigid wind tunnels and slushy sidewalks, so spring is always such a relief! The cocktails you drink should reflect that joy. So to me, it’s all about fresh, vibrant citrus and bubbles.
ND: For an afternoon hang, I love sitting outside at Via Carota sipping on a Bicicletta or a Negroni Sbagliato. Alto Paradiso is another favorite, perfect for an early evening cocktail. Their Alto Gibson is fantastic. And for some of the best people watching while drinking some wine, Cafe Gitane on Mott Street.
How does the culture and spirit of New York filter into the cocktails featured in your book?
ND: The idea of community, of coming together for a round of drinks. It’s obviously something one does everywhere, but in New York, bars and restaurants truly are our living rooms. We come together in these spaces to celebrate and commiserate, to feel connected to one another.
In your years working at various iconic New York bars with some of the city’s most celebrated mixologists, what’s the best piece of drink-making advice you’ve ever received?
ND: That being a gracious, fun host is more important than fancy tricks.
High and Low
1 1/2 oz umeshu
1 oz cold brew coffee
1/2 oz oloroso sherry
Tonic water, to top
Method: In a highball glass with ice, add the umeshu, cold brew, oloroso sherry and tonic water. Gently stir to chill and incorporate. Garnish with a plum fan.
1/2 a strawberry
1 oz Lillet Rosé
3/4 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Bubbly water, to top
Method: Lightly muddle the 1/2 strawberry at the bottom of your shaker. Add the Lillet, amaro, lemon and simple syrup. Shake with ice. Strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with bubbly water. Garnish with the remaining strawberry half.
Reprinted with permission from Drink Lightly. Copyright © 2022 by Natasha David. Photographs copyright © 2022 Kristin Teig. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.