Strangely New York: At Last, Have Your Martini and Eat It, Too

Today we bring you a new uptown place that makes drinks inspired by food. 2nd Ave Deli, on the Upper East Side sells things like martinis containing half-sour pickles.

Welcome to an ongoing Untapped series featuring great articles from our partner websites.  For twenty years, Mitch Broder wrote about New York for the nation’s largest newspaper chain. On Mitch Broder’s Vintage New York, he covers the best places that take you back in time, whether you are revisiting a time or just now discovering it.  

In Jane’s Sweet Buns, we took you to the new downtown place that makes food inspired by drinks,  like raspberry tartlets containing gin. Today we bring you a new uptown place that makes drinks inspired by food.  2nd Ave Deli, on the Upper East Side sells things like gin containing half-sour pickles.

The 2nd Ave Deli just opened on First Avenue, which in itself reveals something of an appetite for the incongruous. And with the incongruous address has come improbable concoctions like the Apple Latke Martini, the Dirty Pickle Martini, and the Lokshen Kugel Cocktail.

The premise behind the bar is that you don’t see a lot of drinks based on Jewish food. Jeremy Lebewohl, who owns the deli with his brother Josh, convened a cocktail caucus, and in a few weeks had a drink list perhaps unprecedented in Judaism.

The Apple Latke is made with potato vodka, apple sauce, and lemon, and is garnished with a potato pancake, also known as a latke. The Dirty Pickle consists of gin, or the vodka of your choice, along with pickle brine, garnished with a half-sour pickle.

The Lokshen Kugel is the most complex, comprising rum with pineapple purée, peach schnapps, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice, and non-dairy creamer. It, too, is garnished with its namesake, which is sweet noodle pudding. The deli also serves potato kugel but that is not yet in liquid form.

There are five other original cocktails, like the 2nd Ave Balanced Diet, which is Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda with gin and plum brandy and a celery stick. But those first three are reportedly the leaders out of the gate, which is not surprising, since between celery and pancake, which would you choose?

The mixologist Jeremy suggests the Dirty Pickle for pastrami sandwiches and other meat dishes, whereas the Apple Latke and Lokshen Kugel, he says, would pair better with pierogen and blintzes. His co-creator David Teyf concurs, though he adds that the Dirty Pickle also works well with lox, herring, and assorted smoked fish.

I imagine that Jane of Jane’s Sweet Buns will like Jeremy’s food-laced drinks. But I have reason to believe that Jeremy will also like Jane’s liquor-laced pastries. Among his own cocktails he is partial to the one made with orange vodka, Dr. Brown’s cream soda, chocolate soda, and orange juice. It’s called the Creamsicle.

Mix it up at the 2nd Ave Deli, 1442 First Avenue, at 75th Street, in Manhattan.

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One Response
  1. Vanessa Chan Reply

    This is very cool…I wish I knew about it last week when I was in NY! My Jewish friends are quite quite excited! 🙂

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