Advice

Drink This Cocktail: Death on the Orient Express

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A cinematic cocktail featuring one of the world's most misunderstood liquors.

Sam

The Orient Express
325 West 11th Street
Manhattan

Okay, Sam, what are you making?
This is a Death on The Orient Express. It’s a play on a movie and Death in The Afternoon, which is a classic drink. It has a sugar cube, Becherovka — which is a liquor from the Czech Republic — and absinthe, as well as prosecco. 

I feel like a badass drinking absinthe — is that warranted? What kind of person drinks absinthe?
Someone who is familiar with liquorice products or someone who's heard about it and wants to impress other people. I think about seventy percent of people who order it will not like it. They like the idea of it, they like the history behind it, they like that they think they'll be pretty drunk after the first round… it’s all lies. The history behind it is pretty interesting, but it’s famous for the wrong reasons. 

What kind of couples come into The Orient Express?
We are a date spot. Straight, gay, whatever — at night it gets very sexy in here. The craziest stories are from the blind dates that go wrong. As a bartender, it’s like looking at misery. 

What’s the most miserable date you’ve seen?
Walk-outs. Or when someone comes in an hour early and gets shit-faced. Seeing their date’s reaction is pretty sad. 

So what’s the best advice for a person in that position?
There’s no fixing it. I think I would try to get my date as drunk as possible. 

If you could describe yourself as a drink, what would it be?
A Negroni.

That was fast. Tell me about that.
The Negroni is a 1920s cocktail. It’s made with bitters, Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. It’s a nice balance of sweet and bitter — it’s a really refreshing drink.

Have you ever found love as a bartender bartending?
No. Never. I try not to go down that road. I’ve been given numbers, but I never ask for a number. Although my number did get out for the first time last week, actually — my cocktail waitress gave it to someone. 

How’d it go?
I got a call. 

Seems like the natural progression of things.
I don’t really advise it, especially when it’s a neighborhood kind of place, because you’re going to get your stalkers and you don’t need to be romantically involved with them. 

What’s tougher: bartending or dating?
Dating. Because there’s an order of operations in bartending, and there’s none in dating. 

After a day of running around, getting people drunk, how do you calm down?
It’s called Fernet Branca. It’s a liqueur from Italy. It’s what I’m drinking right now, because I had a tough day. Our grandmothers used to drink it back in Europe. It’s not something you’re going to find in a club. It’s a bartender’s drink, because it’s all mint and you can’t smell it. 

Where are you from?
I was born in the south of France, in Nice. But I grew up in the Caribbean, in St. Martin. 

How would you compare dating in St. Martin to dating in New York?
It’s a tourist island, so all you deal with is people passing by — you see a lot of people. The dating scene is never really serious. The big story about St. Martin is we’re a friendly island, but no couple is known to stay together for more than five years. 

Wow. So how do you lock someone down here?
I don’t know — if you know, I want you to tell me! I keep on fucking up every time. I always thought the grass was going to be greener, so I would never get attached, or I would try something else. 


Death On The Orient Express:

One sugar cube
Three spritzes absinthe
1 oz Becherovka
Fill to top with prosecco