POV at the W always launches their seasonal cocktail menus with great flare. This time the cocktail party was summer boardwalk carnival themed with tickets sold to the public through Gilt City and gave attendees a chance to sample the drinks while indulging in some fancy takes on carnival-themed snacks – herbed popcorn, churros with strawberry-rhubarb compote – playing games and even getting bright summer-colored manicures from Bliss Spa.
Ultimately, the drinks are the stars, though – and remain available to purchase at POV throughout the season. These drinks may be the best batch of seasonal cocktails offered by the bar in some time. While they mostly share a pink color palette and general inclination towards the sweet, they are fun, great summer drinks that do not disappoint.
Pictured above is the Luchador Rosa, which seemed to be the favorite among people I asked at the event – and was my strong favorite as well. Silver tequila, fresh squeezed lime, and juicy raspberries make for a classic summertime flavor combo – but the drink is elevated by spicy hellfire bitters and a garden of green, aromatic cilantro. This concoction is awesome and I cannot wait to head back to the roof lounge on a hot summer day to tipple several.
Also great was the Bourbon Summer Sour. Bartender Meghan told me that, in the week or so before the launch event that they have been offering this drink menu, she has made the most of these – and warned me it might be because the cocktail is a bit too easy to drink. After that, I expected something weak and sugary – that watermelon is a major ingredient lead to this assumption – but in fact it was simply light and fun to drink. Mingled with the watermelon was Makers Mark bourbon, mint, lemon, and a touch of sugar. Though it was, in fact, dangerously quaffable (indeed, even as someone who rarely finishes a drink at a tasting, this one disappeared from my glass before I even noticed) it was not sticky or overly “fruit flavored.” Instead, it takes the essential summertime formula of bourbon-plus-mint and just adds a bit of bright, natural fruit juiciness.
The Raspberry Sour was the weakest entry in the bunch. While passable – and, by the looks of things at the event, popular – it was a bit candy-cloying with raspberry simple syrup that largely overpowered the gin base. The French Reception was better, with tons of muddled fresh blackberries floating in the glass with gin, St-Germain, lemon juice, and a fizzy pour of Champagne.
Expect to find me at POV’s roof lounge all summer long. Drinking cocktails under a permanent roof canopy is, after all, about as close as I get to “sunshine” or the “outdoors.”