You can experience your childhood all over again at Barmini. Except this time, there are cocktails involved. Taking inspiration from owner José Andrés, head bartender Al Thompson and his team crafted a seven-course Nostalgia cocktail flight ($95; available through July) that’s a heady trip in the Wayback Machine. Here’s a look at each of the sentimentally styled sips.
The first cocktail looks like a jar full of baby food (the youngsters on the labels are baby pics of the staff). Since parents are always reminding kids to eat their peas and carrots, you’ll taste those flavors, along with a hit of ginger. It’s powered by genever and sherry. You eat the cocktail with a plane-shaped spoon, just like the one your mom and dad used to pilot into your mouth when you were a tyke.
“It’s essentially a milk punch,” explains Thompson. “It’s a really easy drinking cocktail, very refreshing.” Made with Darjeeling tea, lemon juice, milk, Spanish brandy, and cherry herring, it arrives in a cartoon-character bedecked jam jar.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
Pokemon was the source material for this course. Guests choose a card from the game to determine which spirit will amp up their cocktail: mezcal, gin, or aquavit. No matter which they get, the bedrock of the bevvie is the same, a mix of rosé vermouth, lemon juice, sugar, and tonic. That’s mixed with dry ice, which inflates an edible bubble to add a wow-factor.
Down the Rabbit Hole
“This is our tribute to Alice in Wonderland,” explains Thompson. “You open a door and you think you’re going to walk into a room, but you walk into a garden instead.” Served from a "steaming" teapot into a tiny teacup, the ginny mixture looks like it’s going to be hot. However, it turns out to be a cold cocktail boasting peach, orange, and maple notes.
The magical mixture of honey vodka, singani (Bolivian brandy), and lavender bitters begins blue, but becomes purple in the glass thanks to some butterfly pea. Tah-dah!
Saturday Morning Cartoons
The kitchen team at Minibar next door was working on a dish featuring caramelized milk. “We tried it and immediately wanted to do something with it,” says Thompson. So he added brandy and a few other ingredients. Then he tossed Angostura bitters with Captain Crunch to make a complementary “Chef Crunch” cereal. As guests eat this boozy breakfast, they watch classic cartoons, including The Flintstones, Duck Tales, and Looney Tunes.
If You Build It…
The final course is based around playing with Lego bricks, which guests build into a structure so a minifigure can reach the lip of the cocktail glass. “Lego are from Denmark, which is known in the culinary world for its bitter, earthy, acidic flavors,” says Thompson, who uses a house blend of amaro to evoke those notes. “And Legoland in California is dedicated to all things Lego. Mexico is nearby, and it’s known for mezcal.” For a final flourish, the top of the cocktail is frozen and the glass is turned upside down. Two minutes later, it’s liquid again, so you can toast this joyful return to your younger years one last time.