Behind the Menu: Eleven Madison Park’s New Cocktails Have Culinary Counterparts

Six new boozy beverages side-by-side with the dishes that inspired them

By Laura S. Itzkowitz

Published on June 8, 2015

Ever since Daniel Humm took the reins of Eleven Madison Park's kitchen in 2006, the fine dining destination in a former bank on Madison Square Park has received countless accolades. The restaurant seems to excel in every category: unparalleled service (the maître d' is known to google diners before they arrive to personalize his greeting); impeccable presentation (each dish is served with specific flatware and its own handmade ceramic plate or bowl by Jono Pandolfi); creative, exquisitely executed dishes; and an excellent beverage program.

This spring, instead of planning a seasonally-driven cocktail menu separate from a seasonally-driven dinner menu, Bar Director Leo Robitschek has used the latter to inspire the former. So drink recipes draw on the flavor profiles of peas in buffalo yogurt, or duck with rhubarb purée. The result: delicious, playful drinks that look and hint at the sweet and savory counterparts that inspired them. This direct collaboration between kitchen and bar may seem overly orchestrated, but it reflects Eleven Madison Park's obsessive attention to detail and the conviction that every component combines to create a singular experience. The cocktails are not necessarily intended to be drunk alongside their edible partner: cocktail pairings with each course may not be an option yet, but we think they certainly should be.

Ahead, six springy drinks side-by-side with their counterparts from the kitchen.

Eleven Madison Park Bean to Bar cocktail white chocolate pretzels
Bean to Bar Cocktail and Chocolate Pretzels

The Bean to Bar cocktail incorporates Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Vermouth di Torino, amontillado sherry, absinthe, Fernet, black pepper, lemon, and fermented Mast Brothers chocolate, which plays off homemade chocolate-covered pretzels. These snacks are no ordinary pretzels, though: they are made by grinding down gluten-free pretzels and combining them with white chocolate. The mixture is then piped into a pretzel shape and covered in yet more chocolate for a salty, sweet, crunchy delight.

Eleven Madison Park Negroni cocktail foie gras
Sorrel Cocktail and Foie Gras over Sorrel Sauce

Head bartender and maître de café Jim Betz likens the Greenstreets sorrel cocktail to a clear Negroni. It’s a combination of Pisco Acholado, Cocchi Americano, and sorrel-infused Chambéry Blanc Vermouth, served over a rock and garnished with a sorrel leaf. There’s a clear visual and sensory connection to the foie gras, which is topped with a sorrel leaf and served over a puddle of sorrel sauce.

Eleven Madison Park food pea black sheep cocktail
Tangy Black Sheep Cocktail and English Snap Peas

Westchester County sheep’s milk yogurt blends with genever, rye whiskey, Tuaca, Mount Olympus flowers, and matcha in the tangy Black Sheep. The cocktail was inspired by this dish of English peas and snap peas served with bufala yogurt and whey thickened with green garlic and hay, garnished with a pea flower.

Eleven Madison Park Rhubarb Lavender Roasted Duck Tequila cocktail
Rhubarb Cocktail and Honey Lavender Roasted Duck with Rhubarb

Rhurbarb is the common note shared by the roasted duck and the tart Rhubarb cocktail, which blends highlands blanco tequila, Aperol, Zucca amaro, Suze Gentiane, sarsaparilla, rhubarb consommé, and lemon. For this dish, honey lavender roasted duck is served with rhubarb purée, rhubarb ribbons, scallions, leek confit, bee pollen, and citrus duck jus.

Eleven Madison Park Dos Santos cocktail Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream
Dos Santos Cocktail and Strawberry Shortcake

To create the Dos Santos, Betz shakes Nicaraguan rum, Campari, Saint Germain, Aquavit, lemon, strawberry consommé, and egg white, and serves it in a coupe. This sophisticated take on strawberry shortcake combines roasted strawberry purée, elderflower bavarois, strawberries poached in elderflower syrup, dehydrated angel food cake, vanilla ice cream, and carbonated elderflower foam.

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