If you’re ever in New York City, you have to make a point of walking into The Plaza Hotel — doesn’t matter if you’re not staying there, just walk right in — and having tea or drinks at The Palm Court or one of its other lovely bars or restaurants. I was lured in for a Nolet’s gin tasting and didn’t want to leave.
Here’s the thing about New York bars: They’re so noisy. And if it’s a good bar, it’s impossible to get in. And if you get in, you can’t get the bartender’s attention. And once you get your drink, you can’t hear well enough to have a decent conversation.
What New Yorkers often forget is that we have all these gorgeous, historic, jewel-box hotel bars that we’ve gone and left to the tourists — and they’re actually quiet. My all-time favorite Manhattan bar is in a Midtown hotel, and I’ll never reveal it, because I want it all to myself.
I digress. This is actually about the gin and Champagne cocktail I had at The Plaza, which was made with jasmine tea and lemongrass-infused sugar. You could make this yourself. I like to think it was named after Zelda Fitzgerald, but I couldn’t get the bartender to confirm that. Anyway, enjoy.
Zelda’s Champagne cocktail recipe
- 1.5 ounces Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
- 1.25 ounces jasmine pearl tea, chilled
- 2 tablespoons lemongrass-infused sugar
- 3 ounces Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial Champagne
- Lemon peel, as garnish
- Chilled Champagne glass
- In a shaker, combine the gin, tea and sugar. Add ice cubes, and shake well.
- Pour into the glass, and top with Champagne. Garnish with the lemon peel.
Note: To make lemongrass-infused sugar, immerse 1 stalk of lemongrass in an airtight container of white sugar. Let sit in a cool, dry place undisturbed for a week or more, until the sugar takes on the aroma of the lemongrass.