On a recent evening, just at the time balmy Indian summer days turn to cool autumn nights, I ducked into Café Moto, a narrowing arrowhead of wood and mortar tucked under the elevated Broadway line of South Williamsburg on a jutting island of sidewalk. A gypsy jazz trio by the door had feet thumping as I made my way to the polished horseshoe bar. Men and women cozied up in dusky shadows at the benches and marble roundtops lining the walls as wine flowed from the taps and food from the kitchen beyond. In this hazy, timeless atmosphere I felt transported to the era of speakeasy intrigue, when good times and intoxicating spirits were had clandestinely and in plenty—and I felt the seductive pull of both. The drink special that night was The Saint, a gauzy white wine cocktail that perfectly captured the changing of the seasons. The last of summer’s basil and mint added a witchy, woodsy balance to astringent citrus and the spicy heat of ginger, with flavors married and softened by the creamy smoothness of vermouth, punctuated with the fizz of soda. While the music wailed, glasses clinked, and ceiling fans still spun lazily above, I sipped contentedly as I watched fallen leaves skitter past the open door, a poetic reminder of summer’s end and the advent of autumn.
Friday Cocktails: The Saint