Have you heard the one about the barber who walks into a bar? Not a joke. It’s the daily routine at Blind Barber, the cult-favorite cocktail lounge, cleverly snuck in behind the barber shop up front. Adam Kirsch and his co-founders set up shop at the original East Village location back in 2010, and now the team is behind another five scattered throughout NYC, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as a line of grooming products. Naturally, the shampoo contains volume-enhancing beer hops; shaving cream is, like gin, made with juniper berries.
Inspired their unconventional take on the good life, we tapped their team to mix up a trio of summer-inspired cocktails, and they turned out hues that rival rosé. Bring on the sunshine yellow, sunset pink, and poolside blue. Yes, even if you think you’re “above” blue drinks. We promise this one is head and shoulders above any college-era blue drinks you imbibed, thanks to more sophisticated ingredients. (Plus, who can resist a little tiki flair mixed with nostalgia?)
Part of the fun? Choosing proper glassware to show off what makes each drink special. And all, the presentation of a drink is almost as important as the taste. “A proper cocktail is going to hit all five of your senses,” explains Adam. “The feel of the glass in your hand, the way it looks, that’s going to be a big part of the overall experience.”
Beyond that, when it comes to mixing the perfect drink, Adam is clear that more isn’t always more. “What makes a cocktail great isn’t combining tons of different things – people should have a sense of what a drink will taste like just from reading a short ingredient list.”
So: Read these and tell us. Are you feeling thirsty? We had Orlando McCray, head bartender of the East Village location, mix up these three drinks to inspire your summer parties. And a word of his advice regarding that 30-second shake you see prescribed in the instructions? Take that timing seriously. “Shaking correctly is what gets the overall feel just right,” Orlando explains. “If you don’t shake long enough you’re not going to get enough aeration; if you overshake, it’s going to be too diluted.”
First up, an indulgent daiquiri that’s basically vacation in a glass, thanks to the inclusion of Banane du Bresil, a liqueur made from crushed bananas. We love it in our classic Martini Glass, and not just for looks: The wide surface at top means extra exposure to air, to improve the taste of the gin. And a V-shape helps to keep ingredients from separating.
- 2 oz. Clairin Sajous Rum
- 1 oz. lime
- .5 oz. Giffard Banane du Brésil
- .25 oz. Petite Canne Sugar Cane Syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaking tin, shake hard for thirty seconds, strain into a chilled stemmed glass, garnish with dehydrated lime.
The Paloma is arguably the most refreshing thing you can drink, and this one gets an extra punch from Campari. Serving it in our Tall Tumbler, in all its thin yet sturdy glory, gives it ample room for ice. As cooling as AC, but more fun.
- 1.5 oz. Sombra Mezcal
- .75 oz. Giffard pamplemousse
- .5 oz. Campari
- .75 oz. lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaking tin, shake hard for thirty seconds, strain into a glass filled with ice, top with soda, garnish with a lime wedge.
“People automatically assume a blue drink is going to be overly sweet,” Orlando tells us, “but this one is a an actually well-balanced cocktail.” And in the short tumbler, it gets a sophisticated bump up. Literally: The weighted bottom makes for a stunning pedestal.
- 2 oz. Milagro silver tequila
- .5 oz. Cocchi Americano
- .5 oz. Pierre Ferrand blue curaçao
- 1 oz. lemon
- .25 oz. Pernod pastis
Combine all ingredients in a shaking tin, shake hard for thirty seconds, strain into a glass filled with ice, top with soda, garnish with a lemon wedge and mint.
Tempted? We’re planning our next liquor store excursion to pick up the essentials to mix up a couple of these. It’s safe to say they make an impressive accent to a dinner party, but also are enough of a draw that you could serve them with cheese and crackers and have guests leave satisfied – and with colorful memories of a night well spent.