Classic Italian Cocktails Reinvented for Contemporary New Yorkers

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Classic Italian Cocktails Reinvented for Contemporary New Yorkers

Greenwich Village’s beloved Caffé Danté opened in 1915 in what was then a very Italian neighborhood of Manhattan. Today, that same neighborhood is in NYU territory, and the establishment now simply goes by “Danté.” While it’s no longer under the original ownership, the current proprietors seek to keep the venue’s old New York flair and Italian heritage. In the afternoons, rather than Happy Hour, they host Aperitivo Hour, a tribute to Italy’s post-work cocktail culture. To that end, the cocktails also seamlessly mix the old with the new, the Italian with the New Yorker.

That balance is accomplished by Australian beverage director, Naren Young, who serves up delights such as the Boozy Affogato, the Al Fresco Spritz, and the many variations in the Negroni Sessions. When asked how he accomplishes this, Young notes that, “the key is to make sure that if you’re re-interpreting a classic cocktail, that it still should have the same foundations as the original. Sure, you can be creative but it can’t be unrecognizable from what the drink is supposed to represent. This notion of ‘twisted classics’ has formed the very backbone of every bar program I’ve put together over the last 15 years.”

Madina Papadopoulos is a New York-based freelance writer, author, and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.