Drink In Eastend's Cosmic Cocktail Creations

​Inconspicuous bottles of homemade bitters, tinctures, flower extracts, and fruit­-infused waters are tucked among the top-shelf liquor and remarkable orchid arrangements on Eastend’s small bar in Greenwich. The carefully perfected concoctions are the work of Juan Meyer, the restaurant’s staid beverage manager who will not make a cocktail without jiggers and spends months perfecting his recipes for the well-dressed customers. Each drink is made with high­-end liquor, delicious homemade elixirs, precision, and in some cases, even fire. This summer, Meyer, who has been in the beverage business for 18 years, released a special cocktail menu to supplement the drinks served year­round, six of which we tested out for you (so you don’t have to drink them all yourself). 

 

Cabeza Blanco tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime, seasonal fruit purée

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You taste the smooth flavor of tequila with the first sip and then notice how subtly the lime juice complements the sweetness of the agave nectar and papaya puree. This may not be your typical margarita, but it’s definitely the margarita to have if you want something refreshing and smooth before dinner. 

 

Tito’s vodka, hibiscus tea, fresh lemon, rosé

This is one of the most refreshing summer cocktails you could hope for. The simple syrup is made from scratch in-house, giving it a crisp, not-too-sweet taste. Fresh, juicy berries and bite­size pieces of pineapple float on top of the pretty, pink drink. 

 

Pisco Barsol Quebranta, fresh lime and lemon juice, cucumber, violet syrup, fresh egg white

The frothy egg white hits your lips first, the gentle foam priming your palate for the tart but silky smooth liquid to make its way down. The Summer Pisco Sour is a complex marriage of liquor, juice, and syrup, but the flavors coalesce so well it tastes like a simple drink. Made only for those with a taste for sour, the cocktail is made with Peruvian Pisco, imported by a local Fairfield man, muddled cucumbers, hibiscus, and violet syrup—a homemade, rich, purple liquid poured out of a bottle that looks like it belongs in a laboratory. It’s topped with tasty Angostura bitters. 

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Tanqueray gin, fresh lime and lemon juice, pink infusion tonic

The tonic for this drink is made in-house with beets, horseradish, thyme, and lemon. The beet­-colored tonic topped with more tonic water becomes a bright, beautiful magenta. Even gin-haters could enjoy this drink.

 

Five House Blend rum, passionfruit, sour mango, suze, pineapple and orange juice, rose and orange blossom water, shot of rum on top

This one took Meyer three months to perfect as he figured out the precise rum proportions. Pay attention to the bartender making it for a nice bit of bar theater. He starts with a fragrant spritz of rose and orange water on the glass, which smells like a delicious French perfume. The rum mixture is combined with the sour mango water, an ingredient inspired by Indian cuisine, suze, a French apéritif with a citrus undertone, and fruit juice. Then, Meyer scoops freshly hand­ beaten ice into the glass, pours a shot of rum into half a hollowed out lime, lights it on fire with a mini blow torch, and it’s ready to be served. Blow out the flame, tip the lime to add the last shot of rum, and drink up. 

 

Cabeza Blanco tequila, elderflower, basil, juniper tincture, green chartreuse, green tea infusion, fresh lemon and lime

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As a tea fan, this green­colored drink was my favorite. It tastes as fresh as the basil leaf resting on a jumbo ice cube in the center of the glass. It’s made with a blend of six green teas, homemade chamomile simple syrup, a homemade juniper tincture, green chartreuse, and fresh lemon and lime. While you taste a hint of tequila, the smooth green tea and chamomile syrup makes this a refreshing and interesting cocktail. You can’t compare this to an iced tea or cocktail—it is its own unique drink that is sure to cool you off and help you fully embrace summer. 

 

I also sampled some small plates—one can’t taste six cocktails on an empty stomach!

The pork belly was tender on the inside and crispy outside, paired perfectly with buttery grits and popcorn and topped with pickled onion. 

 

These tiny meatballs were smothered in classic tomato sauce, which was not too spicy despite the description. The sauce and herb ricotta gave this dish a burst of flavor. 

 

These were perfectly crispy on the outside, savory and moist on the inside, and tasted wonderful with the subtle peanut romesco sauce.

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