Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Hour Haunt: Negronked at Naga

What? Reruns already?! Or maybe we just like the drinks at Chantanee's Naga, so damned much that we had to return, much like moths to a Flaming Moe.

J'adore martinis, j'adore L'Aurore - photo by Wasabi Prime

It was Friday night, we were feelin' all-right, and I was with my visiting bestie-best friend whom I lovingly call the Angry Peanut. We were recovering from a popcorn coma from seeing Julie & Julia, and wished to wash it down with a frosty beverage or two. Or three. OK, maybe just one more... Having had a lovely experience with Naga only days before, it was worth a second visit. We had the good fortune of being there to watch cocktail maestro Andrew Bohrer get down to business.

I cast Magic Missle on your drunk ass - Photo by Wasabi Prime

I love a place that has a sense of humor about themselves, even their drinks. The above photo is of an original beverage choice called the 4d6. I think the Spock-pointed ears of nerds are perking up. The menu description says, "If you know what this means, you are a nerd. ... No saving throws needed." I had no choice but to fly my freak flag and admit to knowing its reference so that I could get my hands on their wooden drink dice. I rolled the bones and came up with a combination, but ended up accepting an extra Singapore Sling they had made. What the runes foretold, the bar behold (beheld? Nah, doesn't rhyme), so who am I to question the Powers That Be?

Ice magic, a spicy Smash, the drink that almost was, and the drink that really was - Photos by Wasabi Prime

The Rogue's Gallery of our bartab included the previously enjoyed Kaffir Fling, several trips to the wild blue yonder via the Aviation, their delightfully ice-murdering Mojitos, a spicy number called a Thai Smash, and the seriously good L'Aurore. I particularly enjoyed the Smash, as it featured fresh cilantro; having never experienced it in a drink before, it was a refreshing introduction to find yet another place to use one of my favorite herbs. We were also lucky enough to watch Andrew Bohrer quickly and masterfully hand-carve a chunk of ice down to a perfect sphere for his own Ueno San cocktail, an homage to Hidetsugo Ueno of the Bar High Five in Tokyo. Apparently this is not unusual in high end bars in Tokyo, but as I had never seen this done before, I remain impressed by this practice of the Dō of ice.

Recipe Alert! For those wishing to get Negronked on fancified beverages, Andrew Bohrer was kind enough to serve our girl-drink-drunkard selves, as well as share this recipe for the Aviation:

The Aviation, a classic pre prohibition cocktail

1.5 gin

.5 maraschino

.5 lemon

.13 creme du violet*

Shake strain and garnish with cherry. Add a tiny whisper of simple syrup if people are freaked out by the musky dryness of maraschino.

* WP Note: I realize Creme du Violet isn't in most people's pantries, but if you wish to have a bottle for your very own, I found some available on Drink Up NY's site.

** Post Script - Thanks to Foodgrazing at Serious Eats for posting the L'Aurore photo!!

*** Post-Post Script - Another THANKS to Liqurious for posting the same L'Aurore pic!

** Regarding the wooden dice - the owners of Chantanee were kind enough to contact me and confirm that Andrew Bohrer himself carved the dice, so yet again, more of his signature handiwork graces the Naga bar.

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  1. That looks amazing! I'd try anything with cilantro once. Thanks for the funny recap.

  2. How funny. I was Naga on Friday night as well. So nice to have such a fabulous bar on the Eastside!

  3. lol, if you see a couple of tipsy gals at Naga, just ask which one's Wasabi Prime, as I believe I've found a new favorite hangout.

  4. No one is talking about those dice? Those are awesome! Would you happen to know where one could pick some up?

  5. regarding the 4d6 drink dice -- upon closer examination, I think they were probably made to order for Naga. I would maybe try and contact the people at Chantanee and ask about who made them. I'll have to send them a ping and see if they respond back.

  6. Thank you for finding out about the dice. They are amazing. Looks like I will have to start carving.
    Very glad I found your Blog. Thanks


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