New York City-Inspired Cocktails

Behind the Bar at Prune

The tale of Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s route to and beyond Prune takes on an epic quality, her persona a study in seemingly contradictory things. She is a scholar and a chef, a badass and a sage, a risk taker and a traditionalist. In one particularly vivid anecdote from Blood, Bones & Butter, she recounts a glamorous morning where she was whisked via chauffeured car to an appearance on Martha, while that same afternoon found her plunged elbows deep into a backed-up sink. The image of her taking care of business while still camera-ready is a succinct and illustrative nugget. She doesn’t need to be categorized as one or the other; neither does her Prune. A rambling rose translation of both the reality and the dream, Prune embraces the appeal of the mismatched: scuffed floors and jewel box walls, pink awnings and gritty streets.

It is only natural that our NYC cocktails would uphold this odd couple standard, the drunken sailor’s sultry swill to the slinky Sofia-Loren-in-a-glass that’s nearly too pretty to drink. They are the close-up on learned vagabond lessons, an unapologetic reminder that in life as in cocktails, ‘both’ is always an option.

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The Recipes

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The Italian Greyhound


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Build in a mixing glass:

  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces Absolut
  • Splash of Campari

Add ice and shake vigorously.

Pour into a Collins glass and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

3 Rum Punch


  • 5 pineapples, top and bottom cut off, cut into 1/4s
  • 5 vanilla beans, split
  • Zest of 5-6 limes, in long curlicue ribbons
  • 2 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 gallon + 1 quart Ron de Barillito (equals 6 bottles) amber rum
  • 1 quart + 1 pint Goslings black rum
  • 1 quart + 1 pint Bacardi original white

Wash and scrub the whole pineapples under warm water to remove wax and debris.

Gently rinse limes under warm water to remove wax—but don’t scrub lest you remove oils.

Top and tip the pineapples just enough to expose flesh. Make sure your pineapples are perfect and golden and fragrant and sweet and ripe. Don’t rush this with deadly green pineapples which offer nothing but acid.

Cut each pineapple in ¼’s, top to bottom, and pack the ¼’s standing up in a very clean 5 gallon bucket. No need to remove fibrous core—they make a delicious snack when you strain in 3 weeks.

Tuck the split vanilla beans in and around and between the pineapple.

Scatter your long, single cut curlicue lime zests around and on top of the pineapples.

Scatter the sugar evenly all over the fruit.

Pour in all of the rums, making sure to wash all the sugar down into the crevices between the fruits.

Spin and jostle the bucket a few times to make sure fruit and sugar and all the rums have integrated.

Cover with cheesecloth and tight lid.

Soak 3 weeks at room temperature. Be sure to label and date and include both date made and date to strain.

Strain through china cap into very clean 3 gallon bucket, press and crush the solids thoroughly, waste none of the liquid.

Refrigerate after straining.

Per drink:

Into an ice-filled Collins glass, pour rum punch until glass is ¾ full.  Top with club soda and garnish with sliced vanilla bean. An on-the-money batch will have an incredibly sophisticated adult-palate butterscotch quality. Heed Gabrielle’s advice and “take care! This is potent.”

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Looking for more New York stories? See the full Gather Collection.

Credit for photograph of Gabrielle Hamilton: Melanie Dunea/CPI

Contributing Photography: Helen Brooks

© Behind the Bar at Prune Restaurant | New York Cocktail Recipes.