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Apparently there is a limit to how much people will pay for a cocktail, and it is somewhere south of $40. Chef Frederik de Pue‘s new seafood spot Azur opened with a $40 cognac-based cocktail as well as several $20-plus drinks on it initial menu.
But shortly after the restaurant’s opening a month ago, former Bibiana manager Francesco Amodeo, who recently launched his own line of limoncellos and liqueurs called Don Ciccio & Figli, took over as consulting general manager. He’s since completely revamped Azur’s drink menu. Now, you won’t find a single cocktail over $12.
“Nobody is going to sit in here and spend $40 on a cocktail,” Amodeo says. “We’re not a bar with food. We’re a restaurant with a bar, so I wanted to make things a little bit more affordable for our guests.”
As far as he’s aware, Amodeo says not a single person ordered the $40 drink, which was named the Magusta 165 after a $40 million superyacht. When I visited the bar last night, a bartender told me the same thing. In fact, the bartender said the restaurant had bought several sheets of gold leaf to garnish the $40 cocktail, but it never went to use.
The new cocktail list, introduced last night, has been slimmed down from 15 cocktails to seven. It’s still nautically themed, with drinks named after famous boats. The new concoctions include a lot more local products, including Green Hat Gin and Amodeo’s own liqueurs. Don Ciccio & Figli hibiscus liquor makes its way into the “Azur” cocktail with prosecco and hibiscus flower. The “Regina Marina” includes both Green Hat Gin and Don Ciccico & Figli’s fennel liqueur as well as fresh strawberries and basil. (See the full beverage menu below.)
One of the more bizarre creations is the “Black Pearl” (pictured above) made with squid ink-infused tequila, pomegranate juice, and lime juice. It tastes like a savory margarita with a bitter finish. The squid ink doesn’t seem to add much, except color. The idea for the squid ink tequila came from local mixologists and brothers Ari and Micah Wilder, who served a drink with the infusion at an event they did with Amodeo.
Some punches, available by pitcher, will be introduced later on.
Azur also has some pretty good happy hour specials, too. From 5 to 7 p.m. every day or the week, the bar serves $1 oysters, $5 draft beers, and four $6 cocktails. That’s nearly one-seventh the cost of the $40 cocktail.