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Andreana Bitsis

La Sirena Gives GC A Lesson in Garden Mixology

It’s safe to say that winding down after work with a refreshing cocktail and good company is a New York City ritual– a practice rendered all the more magical when daylight lasts until after 8 PM. With that in mind, we felt inspired to find a new approach to floral-infused cocktails that everyone should be drinking this season.

Our first stop in this journey was Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s latest restaurant, La Sirena, which held its grand opening in the Maritime Hotel early this February. With an exquisite chef-driven food menu and a lavish wine selection, the dynamic duo hit the jackpot with Bar Manager Meaghan Montagano’s signature cocktail menu.

“My inspiration for the flower garnishes is to bring a playfulness and a level of beauty to our cocktails,” Montagano tells us. “The Karma Orchids are from a koppert cress– I love their bright pop of purple!”

Montagano’s bartending career began back in 2008 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She eventually garnered her true love for bartending and creating cocktails at the old Hotel Griffou in the West Village. “It was at Griffou that I found mentors to learn from, ask questions, and certainly make a lot of mistakes,” she tells us. “Mistakes are the best tools to help you learn and grow.” Over the last five years while opening and managing restaurants, Montagano has also worked as a consultant in menu development at other bars. But even with nearly a decade of experience, Montagano admits that nothing could have prepared her for this extensive project with Batali and Bastianich.

With over two dozen uniquely-named and even more uniquely constructed cocktails, there’s something deliciously palatable for everyone. The list includes classic favorites with an Italian twist, to seduce you through each stage of the evening. From blood orange sparkling starters (Sirena Spritz) to the house Manhattan (Fade to Black), you’ll have to finish with a St. George Nola coffee Nightcap (Ciao! Ciao!). At least that’s what we did anyway, and we wanted to share with you a floral favorite that we discovered along the way:

Regina was also the original name for La Sirena; the Regina Floral Cocktail has the signature elegance fitting of its title. (If a Mai Tai was an Italian Queen, this is what she would be made of.) The Brugal Anejo and the curaçao in this recipe are particularly complimentary– and naturally, we loved the orchid! It took us right back to the lovely spring orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden last month. “My inspiration for the flower garnishes is to bring a playfulness and a level of beauty to our cocktails,” Montagano tells us. “The Karma Orchids are from a koppert cress. I love their bright pop of purple!”

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