Thursday, June 24, 2010

Backyard Bartender in the Big City

I have long had a fascination with New York, based mostly on repeated viewings of Sex and the City. That and the fact that one of my co-workers told me he had a totally normal, sane friend who moved to New York City and, a few months later, broke down crying on the sidewalk. There is something fascinating about a place so intense it eats people alive. I knew I had to experience it for myself.

Also at work, I stumbled across this video one day when I googled "bacon cocktail". I thought to myself - surely no one has tried something so insane as putting bacon in a cocktail. Ohh, I was wrong. Pretty much as soon as I saw the video of the bacon cocktail...I knew I had to experience it for myself.

Remember this for later.

I showed the video to Luke, who at the time was living in New York, and he was like, hey, this place is right around the corner from my apartment in the East Village. Sex and the City...bourbon-infused was like a magnet, drawing me in.

So the bacon cocktail bar is called PDT, and it was pretty much at the top of my list of places to visit when I went to New York (for the very first time!) this past May. Getting in, it turns out, is no easy feat. New Yorkers are apparently obsessed with faux-speakeasy type bars, and PDT (stands for Please Don't Tell) has made an art form out of it. Their phone lines open at 3 PM every day, at which point you have to call the secret number and make a reservation. (The number is actually not so secret, since a quick google search will turn it up, but I'll make you do a little work.) Once your reservation is made - and here's where it gets really trippy - you have to go to a hot dog joint called Crif Dogs in the East Village. Once inside the hot dog joint you'll see a phone booth - go in, pick up the phone, tell the hostess your name and when your reservation is, and the back wall of the phone booth will open. Suddenly you're in this low-ceilinged, wood-paneled cocktail den with animal heads on the wall and a bar with the best liquor selection of anywhere, ever. You've fallen down a rabbit hole of awesome.

Look at all those bottles. I died of jealousy.

Sarah and I got there at 7 pm, just when things were starting to pick up, so we had the distinct pleasure of sitting at the bar and chatting with the bartender as he made our drinks. Sarah ordered a Paddington, made with, among other things - muddled...bell pepper? I wasn't so sure how I felt about bell pepper in a cocktail, but Sarah gulped it down.

I got the much-anticipated bacon cocktail (called a Benton's old fashioned), and it did not disappoint. In a traditional old-fashioned, you taste orange, and then bourbon. In this one, I tasted citrus, and then bourbon, and then...bacon. Some reviewers said the bacon infusion just brought out the smoky flavors in the bourbon, but they were dead wrong. It tasted like real, honest-to-goodness, fresh off the griddle, bacon. As a flavor pairing, this was really not so terrible as you would think - it was actually pretty intriguing in a "holy cow I never would've thought of this but it kinda works" sort of way. Would I order it again? Probably not, especially considering all the other enticing offerings on the menu, but I feel like it was worth the 14 bucks just to have had the experience.

The rules of the house posted on the bathroom wall. Basically: this is not a pick-up bar.

Speaking of experiences...did I mention you can order food from the hot dog place next door? It's delivered through a little door in the back of the bar. So you can nosh on tater tots while you drink your fancy drinks. Only in New York.

Bourbon + tater tots = happy Nancy.


  1. And, might I say, Nancy in New York is quite spiffily dressed?

  2. love this post. and... the pic of the drinks kinda makes me look like a lush. whatev, bell pepper beverages are tasty. i also can't taste. but it was pretty! ok, my favorite part was the tater tots.

  3. Mmmm... I'm sold on the bacon and bourbon. I’d say you got your money’s worth on that drink. Almost everything is better with bacon.

    But what about this... salmon infused vodka? Have you heard about this stuff that's made by a distillery in Alaska? I can't really knock it since I have yet to try it in a drink, which I would totally do (if somebody else were willing to fork over the $14 to do so – LOL!)

    Intrigued (or even a bit putt off)? Here’s an Associated Press article I found on the wonders of Salmon Vokda:

    Hope you had fun in NYC… You do look really happy!

  4. Samon mind is blown. Know if this stuff is available in Houston yet?