Paul Liebrandt is one of the most highly praised chefs working today. The recipient of two Michelin stars, Liebrandt was born in Zimbabwe and raised in England. His creative and daring style is the result of his world travels. He has had his hand in the opening of several acclaimed restaurants in New York City, his newest being The Elm in Brooklyn. The Elm's menu is as eclectic as the man himself, concentrating on Liebrandt's modern takes on classic French fare.
The bar area, referred to as Upper Elm, serves cheese fondue, spinach artichoke dip, and dry-aged burgers along with an impressive number of spirits, beers, wines, and cocktails. Mixologist Johnny Swet's seasonal cocktail list complements Chef Liebrandt's focus on farm-fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables. The East End, a Swet concoction for chilly nights, combines gin, rum, maple syrup, and spicy bitters made from sriracha.
The inspiration behind the cocktail came to Swet when he was doing research for a fall gin drink. "I started thinking about a dry London-style gin, but I wanted to take away some of the sharpness of the booze," says Swet. "So I added some Pusser's British naval-strength rum." Since there is actually a British naval yard in the East End of London, the name just made sense to Swet. "I added the sriracha bitters because, in London's East End, there is a very large Southeast Asian community. We ended up with a very complex, yet smooth cocktail with a little bite from the sriracha."
The East End
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz maple syrup
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1/4 oz navy-strength rum
- Dash of sriracha bitters
Shake all ingredients together, and serve over the rocks with a lemon twist.