Tompkins Square Cocktail

December 15, 2022
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 3 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

I have the tremendously good fortune of being able to say that my first bartending gig was at a world-renowned cocktail bar, Please Don’t Tell, or PDT. The bar opened in 2007 and about nine months after, I managed to snag a training shift behind the bar every Monday night.

For those unfamiliar, PDT is a neo-speakeasy that’s hidden inside of Crif Dogs on St. Mark’s Place in New York City’s East Village. When I was working there, the only way to get a reservation was to call our unlisted phone number at 3pm for same-day reservations. (Now the bar is on Resy.) We held the bar seats on a first-come-first-served basis, and unless you got lucky, the wait could easily be two or three hours at peak times. The bar featured an ever-changing menu of about 18 cocktails and even won the James Beard Award for outstanding bar program in the first year the prize was given.

I stayed bartending at PDT for over five and a half years, learning from and working with some of the best bartenders in the industry, including Michael Klein, the creator of this fantastic Vieux Carré variation that went on the menu Memorial Day 2012 and remains one of my favorite PDT drinks of all time. Although the drink was released in the summer, I love this drink during the holiday season due to its warm complexity thanks to the bitters, Bénédictine and allspice dram.

As a drink recipe, this one is pretty easy to assemble: just measure, mix and stir. However, it calls for some relatively obscure ingredients that are worth seeking out. Kirschwasser is a clear spirit (i.e. eau-de-vie) made from cherries, and Maurin Quina is a bitter French aperitif made with cherries and quinine. When it’s cold out I love to garnish this drink with Luxardo cherries—always in season—even though the original recipe calls for fresh.
John deBary

What You'll Need
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Tompkins Square Cocktail
  • 1 ounce Clear Creek kirschwasser
  • 1 ounce Maurin Quina
  • 1 ounce rye whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce Bénédictine liqueur
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 spritz of allspice dram
  • 3 Luxardo cherries on a pick (or three fresh cherries if available), to garnish
  1. Take a cocktail coupe and spray the inside of it with allspice dram and set aside. Combine kirschwasser, Maurin Quina, rye, Bénédictine, and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir gently for 20 seconds.
  2. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with the cherries.

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