Bar Openings: Spotlight on New York

January is usually a slow time for openings, but this year, there are three or four in New York worth mentioning.

Who’s got the most tequilas? The latest to pursue that claim is chef Richard Sandoval, who shortly will launch the Tequila Library at Zengo in Manhattan with more than 400 agave-based spirits behind the bar. Meant to be an homage to agave distillers and mescaleros, the Tequila Library will offer spirits selected by species of agave, terrain, aging and production methods, and Sandoval is working with distillers to bring in new brands, including mezcals and stools from Durango, Oaxaca and Zacatecas.

An added twist: customers will be able to buy and store their own bottles in personal lockers, and a Tequila Librarian will offer tequila insight and recommendations. Drinks include The Encantada (a Margarita with a mezcal float garnished with sal de gusano) and a Prickly Pear Blueberry Margarita.

Small plate contemporary American style Recette opened in Manhattan with a seasonal cocktail menu for the six-seat bar. Wine Director Yun Ko developed the cocktails, including the Classic Recette (Champagne, brown sugar and Peychaud’s Bitters); Joie (Maker’s Mark, bitters, fresh orange juice and maraschino cherry); and the Plaisir (Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lime and club soda.)

Bar Seven Five opens with a menu mostly local and retro, designed by Alchemy Consulting’s Jason Cott and Toby Maloney: the 75 Smash (Laird’s AppleJack, Fee Brother's Old Fashioned bitters, lemon, mint and crushed ice), and a new Holland Cocktail (Bols Genever, Luxardo Maraschino, absinthe and bitters) head the list.

Contemporary Cocktails’ Aisha Sharpe and Willy Shine introduced the cocktail list at the Breslin Bar and Dining Room at the Ace Hotel. Among others, some intriguing cocktails are Liquid Swords (rye, orange curaçao, Aperol, Green Chartreuse, orange zest), Kingdom Come (blended Scotch whisky, orange essence, black tea syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white) and Beggar’s Banquet (bourbon with maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, aromatic bitters, all topped with ale).

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