New Leaf Cafe: “The Belle Sidecar” Drink

Turning Over the New Leaf: A Vintage Cocktail from Bette Midler’s Joint
By Elizabeth McMullen August 20, 2009

I’ve got time travel on the brain, and I’m not the only one. Lately, it seems like everyone’s been time-tripping, no machine required (sorry, H.G.). Past masters of the universe include Dr. Who, Einstein, and the boy who won our hearts and brought a once-geeky Sci-Fi dream mainstream, Marty McFly. This summer it’s Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) in The Time Traveler’s Wife, wooing his lady love, Clare (Rachel McAdams), whenever he’s … well, around. The wrinkle in this time-tale is that Henry can’t control his worm-holing ways, which has got to seriously cramp an adventurous spirit. It’s made me wonder: what era would I most enjoy popping into? Too many to list, but I’d start with the 1930s. Sure, times were tough, but the upshot was great music, art, fashion, film, and the repeal of that crazy little idea called Prohibition. Since I haven’t quite mastered the art of bending time, I’m content to celebrate my libationary freedom at the charming New Leaf Café, one of the biggest successes of Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project.

The NYRP is dedicated to fixing up the city’s public parks–in this case Ft. Tryon, a gorgeously groomed haven of flora and fauna, home to the Cloisters as well as The New Leaf. Back in the 30s, the historic stone building was a concession stand selling ice cream, hot dogs, and soda. Nowadays, the fare is considerably finer, and long-time bartender Neil Simon Coleman (yep, mum was a fan–more on Neil and his summery blends tomorrow) serves up the sweetest sidecar this side of the millennium. So doll yourself up, Bette Davis-style, claim your perch at the long ebony bar, and slowly sip (be warned: it’s a real humdinger) this lemony masterpiece as you’re transported to a classier time. Or just take the New Leaf’s original recipe and host your own jazzy shindig. Beam us up, Bettes!

Belle Sidecar
Courtesy of The New Leaf Café
● 1 oz lemon juice
● 2 oz Cointreau
● 3 oz Belle de Brillet (pear) cognac (this is the good stuff)
Combine ingredients in a glass cocktail shaker with ice. Shake like Carmen Miranda. Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.

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