A New Take on the Three-Martini Power Lunch
By the time Frank Sinatra cooed his rendition of “My Way,” the three-martini power lunch had taken hold in many of the country’s top cities. The all-liquid lunch lost some of its luster in the decades that followed, but it’s enjoying a resurgence thanks to the creative folks responsible for the last six and a half seasons of Mad Men. Jeff Isaacson, director of bars and beverage at Ark Restaurants, is taking that one step further. As someone who has fashioned several flourishing bar programs throughout Manhattan—including at Bryant Park Grill and El Rio Grande—Isaacson is the kind of spirits guru who can bring the once-popular martini lunch of the 1960s into the age of contemporary cocktails. We asked him just how he would do it, and here is the menu that he lined up.
The First Course – The Unusual Negroni
- 1 oz. Farmer’s gin
- 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
- 1 oz. Aperol
Combine all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Stir well and strain into a martini glass or a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Isaacson suggests starting off the lunch with this gin-based libation, which he describes as floral, fragrant, and clean. “It gets the senses stimulated and will get the conversation flowing.”
The Second Course – The Boulevardier
- 1 oz. Michter’s rye whiskey
- 1 oz. Aperol
- 1 oz. Lillet Rose
Combine all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Stir well and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
There’s complexity and substance in this rye-whiskey cocktail—one that benefits from the spicy notes and smooth finish of the rye, the hints of orange and rhubarb from the Aperol, and the subtle bitterness from the quinine-accented Lillet Rose. “This,” Isaacson says, “is the meat of the conversation.”
The Third Course – The Picador
- ¾ oz. simple syrup
- 4 cucumber slices
- 1½ oz. Milagro Silver tequila
- ½ oz. El Buho mezcal
- ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
- ¾ oz. pineapple juice
In a shaker, muddle the cucumber and simple syrup. Add all other ingredients with ice and shake well. Strain over ice into a highball glass. Garnish with fresh pineapple.
“The floral and herbaceous notes of the Milagro, the coolness of the cucumber, and the sweetness of the pineapple offset the smokiness of the mezcal,” Isaacson says. “It’s a great combination and a fitting way to end the lunch.”