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 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