Remember the famous scene in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory when Willy Wonka creates Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum? A New York bar called Double Chicken Please is redefining mixology by making cocktails that taste like famous dishes … without turning patrons into giant blueberries at the end of the experience.
The bar, located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, is the brainchild of Taiwanese cocktail veterans Faye Chen and GN Chan. As Chan explained to Liquor.com, he doesn’t drink alcohol, so he finds his inspiration in food instead.
“I’m more inspired by food, so why not turn a dish into a drink?” he explained.
The resulting cocktails have names such as NY Beet Salad (Bombay Sapphire, beet, pineapple, cranberry, mascarpone, yogurt), Red Eye Gravy cocktail (Teeling small batch Irish whiskey, coffee butter, corn, walnut, mushroom, prosciutto) and French Toast (Grey Goose, roasted barley, brioche, coconut, milk, maple syrup, egg).
FYI: For those unfamiliar with red eye gravy, it’s a Southern recipe made from the drippings of pan-fried country ham mixed with black coffee.
“Beet salad is actually the first drink I intentionally created to mimic a dish,” said Chan. “It’s a crowd-pleaser. Especially when I was in Moscow and St Petersburg, where people loved it because they said it tastes like borscht.”
Meanwhile, French Toast is a dessert drink and comes with a housemade chocolate-and-coffee-flavored “Oreo” garnish inspired by the flavours of an Espresso Martini.
“Imagine you’re having french toast for breakfast and you’re holding an Espresso Martini,” says Chan. “You’re drinking your food and you’re eating your drink. Isn’t that fun?”
The bar’s latest list of cocktails are modelled after food items such as Japanese cold noodles and mango stick rice. Other inspired creations are the Waldorf Salad, named after the iconic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel where the dish was invented. It is generally comprised of four simple ingredients – apple, celery, walnut, and grape. Double Chicken Please has taken those four flavours and reimagined them into a Waldorf Salad cocktail. The cocktail features a blend of two Scotch whiskies (Dewar’s 12 and Laphroaig 10), celery juice, apple juice, walnut bitters and ginger ale.
The inventiveness also extends to the food menu. Earlier this year, the bar set up a street cart outside its front door during COVID-19 restrictions, selling hot cocktails and hot dog-shaped ice creams. The frankfurts were made using dark chocolate and housemade vanilla bean ice cream, with with “mustard,” made from salted duck yolks blended with condensed milk, and “ketchup” made from hot honey, while the hot dog’s bun was a normal potato roll.
The verdict? Time Out noted: “You’ll totally feel like you’re eating a real hot dog until a burst of sweet flavors inundates your palate and has you ask out loud: but how is this possible?”