THE BOOZY LONG ISLAND CITY SPECIAL AT SWEETLEAF
"Coffee and booze are two of the world's oldest vices. So why would we not put them together," muses Colin Bryson, bartender at the second outpost of Long Island City coffee shrine, Sweetleaf. Beyond serving impeccable frothy cappuccinos and New Orleans-style iced coffee, this new locale, hidden among the neighborhood's swirl of glossy condos, offers a Weezer-heavy soundtrack and cocktails -- some invitingly featuring bitter java -- all night long. One of those drinks is Bryson's refreshing Long Island City Special.
Inspired by non-boozy espresso soda the Manhattan Special, it pairs Cruzan Blackstrap rum with Sweetleaf's housemade coffee liqueur, and is brightened by lemon and agave. "I was drinking Blackstrap daiquiris with agave syrup as the sweetener a while back, so I brought that combo to the table for this drink," he explains. A generous-sized mint garnish helps balance the sweetness.
"I guess," Bryson says, "it's my artisanal homage to the vodka and Red Bull."
Long Island City Special:
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. agave syrup
1 oz. Sweetleaf coffee liqueur
1 oz. Cruzan Blackstrap rum
Serve long over a Collins spear. Top with soda. Garnish with a healthy bouquet of mint.