A glimpse inside the bar scene at chef Hung Huynh’s year-old Meatpacking hotspot.
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Tri-level seafood restaurant Catch, helmed by chef Hung Huynh (of Top Chef fame), draws the kind of crowd you might expect in the Meatpacking District: after-work suits during the week (and the women who love them) and pre-clubbers on the weekends (and the women who love them). According to head bartender Colin Maxwell, who’s tended bar at Cookshop and Landmarc and trained under pioneering mixologist Eben Klemm, Catch is best enjoyed with a drink in hand and without a wristwatch, so time can slip away with your sobriety. Here, he gives us the scoop on which drinks to accessorize with and what to expect at chef Huynh’s new modern Asian restaurant, The General, which opens this week on the Bowery.
What’s the drink to order now at Catch?
The D.B.B. (Death By Bartender), which has apricot- and guajillo-infused whiskey with lemon juice. After running around to make the infusion and going through 10 to 12 liters of it each week, I got invited by Woodford Reserve to go down to the distillery in Louisville, Kentucky, to taste different blends, and we ended up creating what has became Catch’s own exclusive blend of whiskey. You really won’t find it anywhere else. We have plans to do the same thing with a Mexican tequila distillery, so keep an eye out…
How about if you’re a looking to impress a lady—what would you recommend to send to her?
The Neptune: Dark rum, passion fruit, honey, and lime juice layered with crushed ice and bitters and garnished with a sprig of mint. Men love it too. They usually ask me to serve it in a rocks glass, though.
If customers are looking to continue the night out after leaving here, where do you recommend they go?
Head to the Catch Roof or to SL, around the corner, for good DJs and dancing. If you want to avoid the stereotypical Meatpacking scene, The Tippler, beneath Chelsea Market, has solid cocktails and serves until 4 a.m. even on weeknights.
How do you give a cocktail a little something extra or unexpected?
I created a chipotle-bourbon tincture by soaking whole, smoked, and dried peppers in the bourbon for one to two weeks. It’s so powerful that I keep it in an eye dropper. I typically use about six drops per drink. Add it to tequila for an excellent spicy margarita.
What’s the drink to try at The General?
The Old Fashioned made with our Chinese five-spice mix—an herbaceous blend of Sichuan pepper, star anise, fennel seed, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. It’s infused with simple syrup and our pepper tincture.