The Queen of Troy Cocktail at Little Donkey Is Lush and Beautiful
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According to literary lore, Helen of Troy was a woman of such staggering beauty that her abduction “launched a thousand ships” and led to the 10-year war recounted by Homer in the Iliad. The Queen of Troy at Little Donkey, a tart but fruity vodka-based beverage named in her honor, is similarly easy on the eyes but the source of far less drama.
From the start, lead bartender Kevin Conway knew the cocktail—which is available for dine-in service and takeout—would be a looker, he says, and he named it accordingly. The base of vodka allows other elements, namely Giffard passion fruit liqueur and a touch of vegetal shōchū, to shine through. Further accented by lemon hibiscus syrup and grapefruit juice for sweetness and acidity respectively, it’s topped off by bubbly rosé Cava. In sum, it’s a refreshing-but-complex patio sipper which Conway explains is “like a sangria and an aperitivo spritz had a baby.”
Conway enjoys pairing Helen of Troy with Little Donkey’s Foie Gras, Crab Spring Rolls, and Istanbul-style Manti dumplings filled with lamb, sour cream, and red pepper butter.
“The flavor of this cocktail was definitely conceived to pair with rich, savory bites,” he says. “The acidic components of the drink definitely cut into that richness and provide a really beautiful contrast.”
And after experiencing it first-hand, you may want to pay tribute to the drink with your own Homeric yarn.