Love & Sex

Drink This Cocktail: The Narcissist

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The bartender at Jo’s makes a gin cocktail named after his ex-girlfriend.

Johnny, co-owner and cocktologist

264 Elizabeth Street, New York

So you're the self-described "cocktologist," meaning you create all the cocktails. Tell me about this one.
This one is called The Narcissist. It used to be named Bon Bon, which was the nickname of my ex. After the demise of our relationship, it seemed appropriate to name it The Narcissist. 

Do you name a lot of drinks after girlfriends?
No, this was actually the first and probably the last. Revenge is sweet. 

It is actually sweet.
And served cold.

Does the name put people off?
No, not at all. Actually, since we changed the name, the sales have gone way up. Everyone wants a Narcissist. 

Why is it the perfect cocktail to drink this weekend? 
Gin is a great spirit in the summer. Plus, it's got ginger beer, lime juice, creme de violette — it's fresh and light. 

If you a girl at the bar was hitting on you, and she didn't seem like a narcissist, what drink would you make her? 
Although it would be funny to pick her up sending her my ex-girlfriend's drink, I would send her the Peruvian Necktie. Or maybe a drink named after sex; we have a lot of those. We have the G-Spot, and we used to have one called Tainted Love in Apartment 6B — it was based on two regulars. They met here, and the guy always ordered the same gin-based drink, which we started calling Ian's Taint. But then they hooked up, and her apartment was 6B, so we credited him with the recipe. And then they broke up, so we renamed it again. He still comes in. He was the better regular.

Can you tell when two people are going to hook up or break up, depending on what they order?
Yes. Depends how much they're drinking, and the way they're drinking it. You can tell so much about body language. If it's going amazingly well, they order lots of different cocktails and share them. And generally, one will order for the other. If it's not going well, they choose a drink and stick with it and pound it back. 

The atmosphere here is really fun and friendly has anyone ever tried to pick you up?
Yes. [laughs] One girl told me she had a chandelier in her townhouse in Harlem. 

That old chestnut? Come on. Did it work?
Well, no, because I was in a relationship. Now I'm single, but it's recent, so I haven't had a chance to test it. 

You also work with a lot of beautiful women. Are people constantly trying to hit on them?
Yeah. I mean, look at the bar. It's five o'clock — we just opened and already there are guys sitting at the bar. 

Any overt displays of affection?
Well, we don't have Cristal, but bottles of champagne have been sent. 

What is the one drink you'd feel second-hand embarrassment over someone ordering?
One of the good things about being an under-the-radar bar is that we attract seasoned drinkers. We don't have people coming in asking for vodka Red Bulls — to which I'd say, "Get out." Long Island Iced Teas are pretty bad. Appletinis. But we don’t really get those; we've been pretty fortunate. 

What's a drink order that would really impress you?
To me, it's more that someone knows what they like to drink. They come in, and they know what they want, whether it's a whiskey on the rocks or a martini.

What if I came in, brimming with confidence, and said "Man, I've just gotta have my Long Island Iced Tea?"
Well, for you… I'd make it for you. 

The Narcissist
2oz gin
3/4oz fresh lime juice
splash ginger beer
splash creme de violette
muddled chiso

Fill a glass up with ice cubes; add gin and lime juice. Top it off with ginger beer, splash some creme de violette, and muddle the chiso leaf.