The cocktails at Death and Co., a new watering hole in the East Village, are as serious as a heart attack. Here they are not just pushed out in sweatshop fashion to the herds of thirsty folks that crowd the bar. At Death and Co., the cocktail is treated with respect. From the two inch double-freeze ice cubes to the highest quality spirits and ingredients, it's carefully crafted with that perfect balance of skill and whimsy that leaves you patiently, or not so patiently, waiting for your first sip.
Forgive us for jumping straight to the booze. The atmosphere at Death and Co. is certainly worth a mention. From the imposing, ornate wooden doors to the sophisticated, traditionally dressed interior with kerosene lamps and chandeliers that harkens back to the early 20's, there is an air that fills the tiny space with a feeling of grandeur. Is it slightly pretentious? Bordering on it, but what keeps it from crossing the line goes back to the cocktail. Their sense of purpose is clear. You come to Death and Co. to drink, and drink well. Prepare to pay for it (cocktails are $12) and wait for it (don't even think of rushing the bartenders), but for us New Yorker's that's nothing new.
So what's all the fuss about? Here are a few of the cocktails that won us over...
Company Buck: Goslings Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Homemade Ginger Beer and Fresh Lime Juice
Pink Lady: Plymouth Gin, Laird's Applejack, Fresh Lemon Juice, Homemade Grenadine and egg white
Jersey Tenor: Laird's Applejack, Paul Monier VSOP Cognac, a Touch of Vermont Pure Maple Syrup, a Dash of Angostura Bitters, Served with a Cinnamon Stick.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned: El Tesoro Reposado Tequila, Del Maguey Chichicapa Mescal, Agave Nectar, a Dash of Angostura Bitters, Finished with a Flamed Orange Twist.
Of course, putting back these cocktails may require a nibble or two to keep you upright. Not surprisingly, the small plates reflect that same creativity we find behind the bar. Beef ravioli ($14) is dressed up with a red wine reduction, mac and cheese is finished with truffle oil and a balsamic reduction and filet mignon rounds are wrapped in crisp bacon and then topped with garlic pomme croquettes.
Death and Co. is on to something. Their focus is where it should be, the drink, a trend emerging in several new establishments popping up throughout the city. Fine cocktails are very much alive and well. Which is a great thing, because we are dying for another one of those Jersey Tenors.
Death & Co, 433 E 6th St (Cross Street: Between 1st Avenue and Avenue A),
Photo courtesy of Citysearch