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Zagat: The Gilroy Takes Imbibers on Bitters, Sweet Journey

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The Gilroy on the Upper East Side is taking an obscure classic cocktail and turning it mainstream. Zagat's James Mulcahy stopped by for a visit and filed this report.

The Gilroy
1561 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 734-8800

The Negroni is on the rise in New York City and The Gilroy on the Upper East Side has based its bar program around this classic mix of Campari, gin and sweet vermouth.

"It's a very simple cocktail, but it has a lot of flavors. It's got a floral beginning, sweet middle, bitter end. It's relatively simple but you can do a lot with it," says Steve Laycock, a partner at The Gilroy.

You can of course get the standard, but the list there presents many playful variations, swapping ingredients and coming up with custom presentations.

"Basically for me you have three parts of this cocktail that you can sub in and out various different spirits or vermouths. And the trick is to get different varieties of things, but still maintain that balance and the reason we fell in love with the Negroni," suggests Laycock.

One of the house specialties is a barrel aged cocktail. Bartenders mix up their recipe and place it in an on-site barrel where it it sits for months. The aging process fills the result with interesting flavor notes.

"You get all of that oaky wood flavor. Depending on the char you can get more or less," says Laycock. "It can be like the nose is very different. It can completely change the whole integrity. You can add some stuff that you don't love, so the trick is finding stuff that ages well and kind of peaks."

If their liquid creations aren't enough to convince you, there's plenty of other reasons to visit. The food offerings feature casual, high-end pub fare, all of which comes with a price tag of less than $20.

"It's American, Italian fare. We have Beef Wellington, mac 'n cheese, tartare and a bunch of charcuterie. It's a simple menu, since going all the way through until four in the morning," notes Laycock.

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