Monkey Biz (Island Creek Oyster Bar)
Nordester (Variety Bar at The Comedy Studio)
Pale Fire (The Hourly Oyster House)
When it comes to the Monkey Biz, looks are deceiving. The stirred cocktail—created for Island Creek Oyster Bar’s spring menu—resembles any other dry Martini with a lemon twist. But just one sip reveals it to be an entirely different ride.
“I wanted to create a stirred, spring-inspired variation on the Martini that let the exceptional quality of Monkey 47 [gin] do most of the talking,” says bar director Jackson Cannon. A fan of Monkey 47’s “complexity and texture,” Cannon worked with ICOB bartender Bobby Walko to develop what he calls “an elegant cocktail that balances the varied botanicals in the gin with vermouth, Lillet, and St-Germain.”
The decision to use that complex and flavorful German gin instead of a London Dry breaks the Martini mold, as does the move to drop it to just one ounce of the drink’s build while upping the dry vermouth quotient to an ounce-and-a-half. This “wet” Martini build makes it soft and approachable—not to mention lower in ABV.
We still don’t advise taking a three-Martini lunch, but we will say that this light, floral, and citrus-forward twist on the classic is the closest thing we’ve experienced to a true afternoon Martini.
1½ ounces Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 ounce Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
½ ounce Lillet
1 teaspoon St-Germain
Lemon peel, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and express lemon peel over the surface before garnishing.