A drink from Lyaness in London.
A drink from Budapest’s Pink Pony Club.
PINK PONY CLUB’S Whiskey Cola is so easy to like that head bartender Balázs Molnár tells even non-whiskey drinkers to give it a chance. In fact, he himself is not a huge fan of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, a brash, Hot Tamales–esque Jack ’n cinnamon liqueur blend; but it works well here combined with a Cherry Heering and Coca-Cola reduction that ultimately mimics an adult cherry cola. The citrus juices and milk wash add dimensions of sour and sweet, silk and spice — a taste that Molnár likens to those cola-bottle-shaped gummies. It combines nostalgic flavors and a grown-up complexity that could win over any whiskey-phobe. “That's the magical part of this drink,” Molnár says.
Please try this drink. If you still don’t like whiskey, I’ll change it for you, no charge.
The Whiskey Cola needs some prep, but it is easy to batch. The most complicated step is the milk wash, but this process keeps it silky and fresh for longer than a regular milk punch. Molnár has a proposition for skeptical visitors to his bar: “Please try this drink. If you still don’t like whiskey, I’ll change it for you, no charge. But don’t just rule it out because it contains whiskey.” Giving the fiercely championed drink a straightforward name is a departure from many of Pink Pony Club’s other cocktails, cleverly named for classic hip-hop tracks, for example the O.G. (Occasional Gimlet) and the Shimmy Shimmy.
The playful cocktail names come from Molnár’s love of rap music. Molnár was a skateboarder who still remembers his first taste of American hip-hop via a Wu-Tang Clan cassette. Pink Pony Club’s Instagram links to an official bar playlist of around 200 rap classics, a collection as much for him as it is for his guests. “I have this philosophy,” he says. “I’m going to be the person spending most of the time between these four walls, and if I have fun during the shift, that vibe is going to catch all the other people in the room.”
The Budapest, Hungary, space feels designed for casual meetups, with its cozy velvet seating, dark walls, and no-frills bar. Pink Pony Club’s focused menu of seven cocktails minimizes waste and encourages guests to try something new. Drinks are sustainable and seasonal, as well as approachable. In addition to its nostalgic flavors, the Whiskey Cola is milk washed with almond milk, so you can serve it to both the whiskey- and lactose-intolerant. Prepped ahead of time, it’s crowd-pleasing and easy to serve, embodying all the right qualities if you’re hosting a party. “From my point of view — a bartender point of view — it’s very easy to serve because the drink is ready to go,” Molnár says. “Fill up your glass with a big ice chunk in it and it looks perfect.”
Recipe can be multiplied and prepared ahead of time.
Jessica Suarez is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.
Grant Cornett is a photographer and director based in upstate New York. He likes to take pictures of pristine detritus and austere moments.
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