The floating bits of green in this clever grapefruit vodka cocktail are shredded basil. It’s from Bar Tano on Third Avenue and Ninth Street in the Gowanus neighborhood between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. The neighborhood and the cocktail get the name from the heavily polluted Gowanus Canal, which was recently declared a Superfund site by the EPA.
The Gowanus cocktail, $9, is made with grapefruit vodka, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, lime, basil leaves, and seltzer. It manages to taste fresh while emulating the cloudy, chunky water of the nearby canal.
My girlfriend ordered the Flats Fixed, $8, an ambitious mix of tequila and amaretto, which must get its name from either the garage next door or the one across the street — it’s a pretty gritty commercial area. I like the Gowanus (I’ve ordered it before), but I really liked the Flats Fixed: tequila, amaretto, triple sec, sour mix, and lime juice. I wish I’d taken notice of the tequila the bartender used, because I would guess that not every brand would work. But this one did work, in an odd way, with the sweet almond flavor of the amaretto. It definitely needed the sour lime for balance. Who would have thought tequila and amaretto would taste good together? If it’s been done before — and I’m guessing it has — I’d never seen it. It’s something I’d like to experiment with at home.