“I never intended to go for the full liquor license,” explains Paul Molakides as he pours a small sample of Knob Creek smoked-maple bourbon behind the bar at Boro6. The whiskey has an earthy-sweet complexity, which complements today’s chilly weather and goes quite well with the kale, almond, and Manchego salad we’re eating as we chat.
Nevertheless, this dram of whiskey wasn’t on the menu when Molakides and his wife, Jennifer Aaronson, opened Boro6 in Hastings-on-Hudson last December. Despite the large picture windows overlooking Warburton Avenue; convivial seating at the u-shaped marble bar; 40 wines available by the glass; and an uncomplicated menu of salads, sandwiches, and cheese and charcuterie; Molakides found that they were losing customers because they didn’t offer cocktails.
“I just didn’t think we needed cocktails. But, after a while, I saw a path to make it work” that didn’t feel like a compromise, says Molakides. The cocktail menu launched in October with a simple approach: Rely on the classics and make them well with premium ingredients like Oaxacan rum, French Noilly Prat vermouth, local whiskey, and freshly squeezed juices. “No grief on the guys who are mixologists, but we’re not that. We’re never going to be that,” he asserts. “If we’re going to do [this], we’re going to do classic cocktails.”
Surprisingly, an expertly executed Cosmopolitan is the best-selling cocktail thus far. “Everybody has taken if off their menu because it’s so old,” he says. “But if you make it with fresh lime juice, great triple sec or Cointreau, and really great vodka, it’s so pretty in the glass.” Served in a coupe, the drink is blushing pink with ideal levels of tart and sweet — and worlds away from the neon-pink versions made famous by Sex and the City.
An expertly executed Cosmopolitan is the best-selling cocktail thus far.
Two types of Manhattans — a classic version and an apple-infused iteration garnished with a slice of bourbon-soaked McIntosh — are also on the menu, as is a chic French 75. Aaronson’s favorite summer drink, the Negroni, also makes an appearance alongside Molakides’ go-to gin martini with jalapeño-stuffed olives. (“I had to put it on there. It’s what my father-in-law and I drink together,” he muses.)
Sitting at the bar, sipping a ginger mojito speckled with tiny bits of mint, the cocktail program certainly seems like a success. “Maybe you come here for wine and cheese, but now you can also start with a classic martini,” rationalizes Molakides. Sounds like a good plan.