Like a boozy remake of Weird Science, a trio of cocktail geeks have forged their own fantasy babe from scratch. The beauty in question is Evelyn, a seductive Alphabet City spirits den primped with dripping candles and beckoning soft leather booths. From the black walnut bar comes one of the year’s craftiest new cocktail programs, divided into five categories, including collinses, juleps and—wait for it—“spirited phosphates” (fancy speak for spiked sodas).
DRINK THIS: Owners moonlight behind the bar, shaking up irreverent, inventive concoctions that nod to 19th-century soda-fountain standards, like egg creams and house-made seltzers. Acid phosphate (a retro souring agent) gives sips like the fragrant Evelyn Rose—gin, hibiscus tea, rose water, Lillet syrup and lemon—a pleasantly tart, tongue-tingling finish (short $7, tall $10). Equally imaginative riffs on time-honored quaffs include the Southeast Watchtower, a refreshing gin collins with a vegetal bent via green Chartreuse and cucumber ($12), and the Crème de Julius, a Galliano-based egg cream that comes off like an adult-approved Creamsicle, with smooth citrus flavors courtesy of the orange-infused cream naranja de leche ($9).
GOOD FOR: Kicking off your Avenue C quaff crawl. Evelyn Drinkery is the latest addition to Alphabet City’s recently stirred-up cocktail scene, with the Summit Bar, the Wayland and the Third Man mere stumbles away. Its potables are the prettiest of the bunch, capped off with delicate ribbons of citrus rind, light dustings of nutmeg and ombré floats of ruby red Peychaud’s. Start your evening here—you’re going to want to remember these gorgeous guzzles in the morning.
THE CLINCHER: In between picking your poison, take a gander at the “Drinking Language” key on the back of the menu: Items range from bossy—a sharp warning against requesting anything “skinny”—to instructive—one squares away confusion over which citrus to pair with a given mixer (it’s lemon with soda, lime with tonic). Our favorite? Calling out an “easy on the ice” order as a translation of “you’re a cheap bastard.” In the style of the iconic Peter Luger or the fictional Soup Nazi, this sassy spot bristles with good old-fashioned Gotham tude and prodding humor. These guys take cocktails seriously but, thankfully, not themselves.—Christina Izzo