August 17 2016

Cocktails On Top #3: the Castaway

New York-Standard Spirits
In the third installment of our summer cocktails series, Chef de Bar and mixologist Gates Otsuji shares the story behind our new favorite at The Top of The Standard: the Castaway.
"One of my favorite things about New York City is the abundance of good restaurants. I love going out to eat, and the city never runs out of food I’ve never tried before. When I first met my boyfriend, he didn’t like South Asian food. I told him that it might be a dealbreaker, but accepted the challenge of winning him over. It didn’t take long. He loves the cuisine now, but during those first meals, I made sure that we always finished with sweets, and The Castaway is inspired by those desserts: kulfi, kheer, ras malai, gulab jamun, etc. South Asian desserts combine aromatic flavors with dairy in such a masterful way."
 
"This drink makes people do a doubletake – what you see isn’t what you taste (in a very good way)."
"When it came time to think about summer drinks, I saw some coconut milk in a grocery store, and of course thought of piña coladas. But I was also reminded of those desserts, and decided to take up the challenge of creating a drink which incorporated coconut and dairy, but wasn’t thick. The Castaway is made with Owney’s Rum from Bushwick, which packs a lot of flavor, but doesn’t come with a lot of weight. There’s also a little crème de banana and Benedictine for structural flavor. We combine those with a housemade coconut rose milk, made by infusing milk with toasted coconut, cardamom, and rosewater. Visually, the result is a cool white drink over crushed ice, but unlike a piña colada, it goes down easy and weightless."
The Standard
"The Castaway is a cocktail about falling in love. In the same way I wanted my boyfriend to discover the complexities of South Asian cuisine, I want people to dive headfirst into rum and to experience all the different ways it can be used behind the bar. This drink makes people do a double-take; what you see isn’t what you taste (in a very good way), and it’s intended to be irresistible."

Top of The Standard 
Open every day of the summer at 4pm for sunset service
Photographer
Neil Aline