Bill Milne
Avant-garde pastry chef Sam Mason
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Tailor Made

Kelley McClain / April 2007

"We're really just a bunch of cooks in the kitchen," says avant-garde pastry chef Sam Mason (left) as he develops the food-friendly drinks featured here for a spring debut of Tailor, his new restaurant at 525 Broome Street. "Here there's only one distinction in the kitchen: hot line and cold line." Mason, who caught national attention while sowing his minimally sweet pastry oats at WD-50, remains a rebel with a boundary blurring cause. The new menu reflects a close-knit collaboration of his iconoclastic pastry talents with Francis Derby's savory skills and Eben Freeman's dexterous mixology. Along with wines, beers, and sakes, the cocktail list will lend itself to deft mix-and-matches with the food. Some drinks, like the Brandy Truffle Flip, evolved from earlier inspirations for tasting menus. In fact, so committed are Mason, Derby, and Freeman to integrating the bar and kitchen that plans include a pass-through to link the spaces.

All recipes courtesy of Sam Mason, Francis Derby, and Eben Freeman for Tailor, New York City.

Butternut and Falernum
A bit like butternut squash soup—with a kick.

• 2 oz. Flor de Caña Centenario 12 year rum.
• 3/4 oz. Taylor's Velvet falernum
• 2 oz. butternut jus
• fresh nutmeg

  1. Shake the first three ingredients with cracked ice; strain over fresh ice into double old fashioned glass. Dust with fresh nutmeg and serve.

To make the butternut jus: Juice enough butternut squash (approx. 2 lbs.) to yield 1 cup; taste; sweeten with 1 Tbsp. brown sugar if needed. Reduce to 3/4 cup; add 1 Tbsp. brown butter; refrigerate overnight. Butter will rise to top and solidify; scrape it off before using. Pair with: Eel/duck terrine with chocolate consommé and pickled cherries.

The Bradbury

• 2 1/2 oz. Old Forester Signature 100 proof Bourbon
• 1/2 oz. Bottlegreen dandelion and burdock cordial
• 2 dashes Hermes orange bitters
• 1 lemon

  1. Stir Bourbon, cordial, and bitters with cracked ice in mixing glass.

  2. Strain into chilled rocks glass. Hold lemon over the glass and cut a strip of the peel into the drink.

Pair with: Seared pork belly with miso butterscotch and cider braised artichokes.

Lychee Daiquiri with Soy Caramel
Mason's innovative caramel uses soy sauce rather than water or cream.

• 2 or 3 fresh lychees
• 1 1/2 oz. Matu­salem Clasico rum
• 1/2 oz. triple sec
• 1 oz. fresh lime juice
• soy caramel

  1. Muddle lychee with rum and let rest for 1 minute.

  2. Add triple sec and lime juice; shake with large ice cubes. Pour the drink and ice into a coupe laced with soy caramel. Pair with: Caramelized apple, cumin ice cream, preserved plum.

Brandy Truffle Flip
A "Flip" is an old classic winter drink using hot ale (most traditional), Sherry, rum, or brandy, and egg. Here, the brandy and egg are joined by black truffle (its affinity with eggs is renowned) to produce an intriguingly savory cocktail.

• 1/2 oz. Gran Duque d'Alba brandy
• 1 heaping tsp. flip batter
• 1 drop black truffle oil
• 2 oz. hot milk
• fresh truffle

  1. Place first three ingredients in an espresso or eggcup; add hot milk while stirring constantly (should look like a macchiato).

  2. Shave fresh truffle on top.

To make flip batter: Separate 4 eggs. To the yolks add 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Add a pinch of cream of tartar to the whites; whip to stiff peaks. Fold yolks into whites; place in sealed container; refrigerate for service.

Pair with: Hibiscus glazed short ribs with date puree and green tea daikon.