Taking a look at classic cocktails at a classic saloon; behind the bar with Marvin Cohen of Polpo Restaurant and Saloon in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.
Head Barman Marvin Cohen of Polpo Restaurant and Saloon knows a thing or two about making cocktails having spent a number of years behind various bars since the 1970s, and for the last 4 years has been mixing drinks behind the bar at Polpo Restaurant and Saloon. As I travel around the world, I look for culinary and cocktails trends, so with this in mind, sitting in the Saloon one night before dinner, I decided to chat with Marvin about what is happening on the cocktail scene at Polpo's.
The Saloon is a gorgeous throwback to the "good old saloon days" with its tiny octagonal tiles on the floor, high backed wood bar stools lining the bar, handwritten wines by the glass listed on the mirror behind the well-stocked bar, stone walls, and as unlikely as it sounds, there is a grand piano complete with candelabra where a pianist plays each evening, it is a place where in my mind I can imagine Hemingway happily sitting at the bar. In a word, it's comfortable.
As would be fitting at a classic saloon housed in a 1908 building with a fabulous Italian restaurant, Marvin said that classic cocktails are back; the older clientele are drinking Manhattans made with bitters and Jack Daniels and the younger clientele are drinking Martinis. More women are drinking Martinis, the same as the men, and White Russians are back in fashion again, only this time around they are served straight up in a Martini glass instead of over ice in a rocks glass.
The bar has two terrific signature drinks, the Polpo Bellini and the Cosmopolitan, which are tweaked to make them Polpo's own. They also make a wonderful drink called the Laurentini, which I really enjoyed. Signature drinks should retain a few secrets, but Marvin did admit that he uses Stolichnaya Vanilla Vodka and Tia Maria in the recipes, but hey, why do you need the recipe when you can go to Polpo Restaurant and Saloon, sit at the bar and have Marvin make you a drink. He may just throw in a story or two to go with the drinks, and he certainly has his share of stories to tell. He worked with Polpo Restaurant and Saloon owner Ron Rosa in New York in the 1970s, has worked in Los Angeles and even once worked at Carroll O'Connor's place, The Ginger Man, where on Monday nights Carroll O'Connor would be behind the bar entertaining the bar clientele and making drinks. Be sure to ask Marvin about that when you visit the Saloon, it's a really funny story.
It seems like that which was old is new again, and that classic cocktails are back in fashion, but not to despair, Marvin keeps things interesting by inventing new cocktails as well, including the Laurentini.
2 parts citrus vodka
1 part limoncello
splash of pineapple juice
dash of prosecco
dash of grenadine
Fill a bar glass with ice, add the citrus vodka, limoncello, pineapple juice and shake. In a chilled Martini glass add a dash of grenadine, strain the cocktail into the Martini glass and top with a dash of prosecco.
Polpo Restaurant & Saloon
554 Old Post Road #3
Greenwich, CT 06830
Telephone: +1 203-629-1999
Fax: +1 203-629-1718
Read our other articles on Polpo Restaurant and Saloon in the Chefs' Recipes and Restaurants sections.
© May 2006. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.