Below Manhattan’s swank Cote steakhouse lies Undercote, a subterranean cocktail bar that manages to make industrial-terrarium-chic a completely believable design philosophy.
The seasonal drinks menu is creative, incorporating customized spirits like sesame-infused Tokki soju, and accompanied by an extensive Champagne list.
Principle bartender Sondre Kasin is originally from Oslo, Norway, and previously worked at that city’s esteemed Morgenstierne Bar. VinePair caught up with Kasin to ask about his favorite bar in his adopted hometown, and hear why, under certain conditions, Margaritas “must die.”
1. What’s your desert-island drink?
Easy, Piña Colada. There is never any doubt when you are on a desert island. You should at least have one Piña Colada each per day.
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
Must have been a classic Daiquiri. I started in the industry young and was trained good! Still one of my favorite drinks.
3. FMK three cocktails: Negroni, Margarita, Manhattan?
F: Manhattan. Manhattan is a true classic that is always a safe bet when you want a drink. It might be the perfect drink for steak dinners. However, in this lineup it is the boring one, and that is why it is not marriage material!
M: Negroni. Just a favorite that is perfect in any setting. The best lifelong partner.
K: Margarita. Even though I can appreciate a Margarita, it is actually a really unbalanced drink that is way too sour. Great for a hot day; however, in this line up, it must die.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
Best thing is probably something overproof so death row goes quick and smooth. If it has to be a drink, Corpse Reviver No. 2 or a Zombie. Perfect cocktail names for the occasion.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
Hard to pick one… If I have to, it must be the White Negroni at The Long Island Bar in Brooklyn. A great bar and a great drink!
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
At home the worst thing I have is a random bottle of Sambuca. Not great in drinks and definitely not great neat. Best is probably a vintage rum bottle from Nicaragua. I am not really sure how the taste is; however, I think it is going to be great the day I open the bottle.
In the bar the worst we have is a sample bottle of tangerine rum. Need I say more? The best is probably Hakushu 18, which is a delicious Japanese whisky.
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
I am not a huge fan of milk/cream in cocktails, so probably White Russian.