The New York City cocktail bar Pouring Ribbons, renowned for its creative cocktails and gracious hospitality, decided last autumn to entirely do away with the typical seasonal drinks menu in favor of one based entirely around a creative theme. First up was Route 66, with all of the cocktails pinned to points on the famed highway. “I was really tired of the seasonal format and wanted to branch out,” says Joaquín Simó, a partner in the bar. “I wanted something specific and evocative, but also something that would give a lot of latitude, where expression could come in.”
The bar debuted its new menu on Wednesday. The theme is again that of a journey; this one looks to the exotic flavors of the Silk Road, the ancient network of trading routes that stretched from East Asia to the Mediterranean, which were used for millennia to transport valuable goods like food, spices, and textiles (particularly the Chinese silk from which it got its name)—and facilitated an exchange of cultures, traditions, and beliefs as well. “It became a real exchange of ideas, and it changed the agriculture and the culinary traditions of radically different places, which I thought was fascinating,” Simó says.
The staff of Pouring Ribbons spent months researching the Silk Road’s storied history for inspiration. The resulting 20 all-new cocktails allude to cultures based along the trading routes and incorporate flavors of the foods and spices that were transported between civilizations—think tea from China; garam masala from India—comprising what’s certainly the most unique cocktail menu in New York City.
Here are six of our favorite drinks from the new menu. (pouringribbons.com)