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The Pickleback. [Photographs: Lush Life Productions]

We are lucky in New York. We've got several high-end cocktail bars that make amazing drinks, are extremely meticulous about their ingredients and their process, and will wow you with their inventive libations. Unfortunately, some of these bars are not only small to begin with, but won't allow you to stand, so are very difficult to get into once their few precious seats are filled. Granted, this makes for a genteel atmosphere, which is something you may want when enjoying a fine cocktail. When you are looking for all of the benefits of the sophisticated establishments in more relaxed surroundings, head to The Randolph at Broome.

Don't let the unpretentiousness of the place fool you—there are some serious cocktails going on. They've got a cocktail list, but more often than not you can walk in, offer the bartender a few guidelines, and enjoy a cocktail to your specifications, whether you're looking for something light and refreshing or brown, bitter, and stirred.

The Randolph, depending on the night, sometimes becomes the "clubhouse" for many of the city's bartenders and industry insiders. That said, this doesn't necessarily happen until late at night, long after the nine-to-fivers have headed off to bed. If you're lucky (or unlucky?) enough to hit an industry night at the Randolph, no doubt you will be exposed to the wonders of the Pickleback—a shot of Jameson with a "back" of pickle brine courtesy of The Pickle Guys (we've been told there was a great deal of testing involved with the selection of the brine). It's a hell of a lot tastier than it sounds, and although it came to the Randolph from the Bushwick Country Club via the Rusty Knot, the Randolph has taken it to another level of notoriety.

20091009-mixitup-goldenticket.jpgBeverage director Jason Littrell has really been the impetus behind making the Randolph a destination for so many in the industry, but he is just as welcoming to regular customers and adventuresome newbies. He has been described as a "ringleader," hosts infamous theme parties, and will always find the right cocktail (or three) to suit your mood and your tastes. His creativity shines in The Golden Ticket, an off-menu drink for the whisky lovers in the crowd. It's bold but subtle, much like the Randolph itself.

The Golden Ticket

3/4 oz Lagavulin Single Malt Scotch 16 Year
1 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Yamazaki Single Malt 12-Year Old Whisky
1/8 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters

Stir with ice in a mixing glass and strain into an old fashioned glass with a large, hand-cracked ice cube (if you've got one handy; otherwise, regular ice will do). Twist and squeeze an orange peel over the glass, then discard it.

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