From Bourbon Milkshake to Butterf ly Effect, five adventurous cocktails to savor this spring
the various flavors of each layer.
Smoky Margarita from Cantina Loco, 191 Allen St. ($8)
Cantina Loco does cocktails right, bringing a mix of crazy and classic margaritas to Allentown. “The owner, Mike Andrzejewski, collects inspiration for his cocktails as he travels through Mexico,” said bartender Alex Concialdi. “His creativity combined with ideas from the innovative staff has led to countless fruity, spicy, smoky and seasonal margaritas for guests to enjoy.”
Cantina uses the tangy, slightly sour homemade margarita mix as a base that’s flavorful without having that intense “fake” overly sweet flavor from store-bought mixes. The smokiness comes from the mezcal and the pungent, black Himalayan salt around the rim. The smoky flavor pairs well with the restaurant’s tacos, especially the California fish taco with flaky fish fried until crisp, smothered in a creamy spicy sauce, and topped with pickled onion and cabbage slaw for crunch.
The Uni Bomb, from Kuni’s, 226 Lexington Ave. ($10)
This off-the-menu shot is Kuni’s best-kept secret. It has the feel of an oyster shooter with similar salty, briny flavors, but Kuni’s has created its own rich, creamy version by combining a small quail egg yolk, a piece of uni, sake (my preferred choice) or shochu (a Japanese vodka), a dash of spicy Sriracha, salty tangy soy sauce, and tart lemon zest.
Chef Kuni Sato has visions of flavors that will pair well, often nailing his risky trials. You knock it back all at once, letting the flavors of the silky yolk and ocean brine uni with citrus notes play off each other. You can pair the shot with an order of charred, crispy octopus skewers, a piece of salmon roe sushi (I suggest adding a quail egg yolk) or any of their many classic sushi rolls.