Friday Cocktails: The Velvet Gentleman

The Velvet Gentleman Mezcal Cocktail
The Velvet Gentleman
This dark, smoky brandy cocktail from Manhattan's Rotisserie Georgette has a surprising brightness that cuts through the heaviness of holiday dishes, thanks to a splash of fruity Italian fortified wine and grapefruit bitters.Farideh Sadeghin

Every so often I get together with old friends from culinary school for dinner out. We use the opportunity to catch up, try a new spot, and maybe visit a former classmate who's landed in a New York restaurant kitchen. On our most recent excursion we wound up at Rotisserie Georgette, a French bistro on Manhattan's Upper East Side. We began passing around our cocktails—it's mandatory on these outings that everyone orders something different—and someone handed me The Velvet Gentleman, a mix of Cardenal Mendoza brandy, Cocchi Americano Rosa, Vida mezcal, and grapefruit bitters. Taking a sip, I quickly decided the drink had found its home: It was smoky and complex, with a tart freshness that made it the perfect pairing for the restaurant's roast chicken with garlic and herbs. Rich and smooth, with a surprising brightness that cut through even the heaviest dish, I happily drank it throughout our meal—and then ordered another to go with dessert.