Inside New York City’s Mondrian Park Avenue hotel, Mediterranean restaurant Cleo revels in its newly unveiled space rife with visual stimuli and already abuzz with the Midtown East crowd. The impressive aesthetic features lacquered white tile walls splashed with intricate Sharpie drawings, and dichotomously the other half of the restaurant is a calming, wood-paneled oasis with soaring ceilings and avant-garde paintings resting beneath them.
Cleo’s arrival comes at a time in which hotel bars and restaurants are held to a higher standard than ever before and it’s clear that this place has all its bases covered, particularly with Haera Shin, Mondrian Park Avenue’s Beverage Manager, at the helm alongside other local talent. Shin’s program at Cleo and Cleo’s Alley channels the kitchen’s multicultural fabric with nods to North African, European, and Middle Eastern culinary traditions, presented harmoniously and effortlessly. A colorful modern interpretation of classics makes up the backbone of the inaugural drink menu; think an old fashioned with Mediterranean spices, a pomegranate gin and tonic, and a Negroni riff made with mezcal and dry vermouth. The Voodoo Child is among Shin’s personal favorites.
“Voodoo Child is a refreshing cocktail that highlights the layers of flavors hiding in Hendrick’s Gin,” says Shin. “Rosemary is there to play on the subtle herbs, Lillet Rosé adds a touch of fruitiness, grapefruit brightens up the gin and rosemary, and the Peychaud’s adds a slightly bitter, anise-y component right at the end. Each layer leaves you wanting to go back for the next sip. The name of the cocktail comes from my favorite Jimi Hendrix song; this cocktail is exactly what I want to sip while listening to that song” Make Shin’s Voodoo Child at home with the recipe below.
1.5 oz. Hendricks Gin
.5 oz. Lillet Rosé
.5 oz. Rosemary simple syrup
2 oz. Fresh grapefruit juice
.5 oz. Fresh lime juice
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Preparation: Shake all ingredients except bitters and strain into a highball glass filled with cubed ice. Top with crushed ice in a mound and add dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
*Rosemary simple syrup:
Combine a half quart of white sugar with a half quart hot water and steep 8 or 9 sprigs of rosemary in the liquid until completely cool. Strain and store in glass bottle.
Photo credit: Jenny Murray/In Good Company