Cocktail stories: Runaway Train, Bar CalicoBy Alice Brooker
New York’s Bar Calico is a standout venue for its southern-western inspiration, its revitalised 1930s architecture, and the fact it has a muse: artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
*This feature was first published in the October issue of The Spirits Business magazine
The neighbourhood bar is the ‘sophisticated older sibling’ to events space Georgia Room, and O’Keeffe’s legacy has undoubtedly settled itself into every corner of the space.
“We wanted a strong, independent female muse who wasn’t from this era but still felt modern and relatable,” explains head bartender Trevor Langer. “Georgia O’Keeffe was from the same time period that the hotel was constructed in 1928. Her piece that Bar Calico is named after – Cow’s Skull with the Calico Roses – is from 1931.
We loved her fierce, intelligent and playful spirit, and wanted to pay homage to it.” Claiming the spotlight on the drinks menu is the recently launched Runaway Train, a riff on the Ramos Gin Fizz that is calling all aboard to marvel at its pastel colours, harking back to the work of – you guessed it – O’Keeffe.
“Egg white foam is combined with grapefruit and rose liqueur to help achieve this soft pinkish pastel colour,” says Langer. “A bit of lime zest adds a bright dash of colour, and the fragrance brings it all together.”
Despite the popularity of Highballs and daisy cocktails, “many people are having the Runaway Train as their first fizz cocktail,” says Langer.
It seems guests are drawn in by the serve’s palate of “floral and vanilla flavours” at first taste, followed by a “long, refreshing finish”.
And, in the same way you can’t physically stop a runaway train, you can’t stop drinking this tipple, says Langer, when asked to describe the meaning behind the name. The Runaway Train is hopefully sitting stationary in Calico for guests to try, a venue where the “overall temperature and feel of the bar” stay the same all year long, Langer adds.
15ml Lime juice
15ml Grapefruit juice
30ml Rose combier
15ml Gran Centenario Añejo
30ml Fords Gin
30ml Egg white
Shake ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and pour into a zombie glass. Top with soda and garnish with lime shavings.
To read more from our Cocktail Stories series, click here.