I sat down at the bar at Cherry Point (664 Manhattan Avenue), trying to forget my post-election blues. I ordered a glass of wine and began to appreciate the decor and soft lighting that makes Cherry Point such a laid back, hip place. Suddenly I was seized by an urge for a cocktail. I asked the bartender Steve Walkiewicz if he had a personal favorite and a smile crossed his face and his eyes gleamed as he told me I had to try his very own creation called “A Sensitive Man.” Walkiewicz quickly went to work pouring the ingredients and then vigorously shaking them. He served it straight up, and the presentation was truly a thing of beauty—chocolate bitters on top of egg whites, looking ever so much like a barrista’s capuccino.
Walkiewicz explained to me that rum was the essential ingredient. A large part of the drink’s tastiness is Damoiseau Guadelupe Rhum, which gives the cocktail much of its sweetness. I tasted something like sweet vermouth in the drink and learned that it was Cardamaro, a wine-based digestif amaro from Piedmonte, Italy. Cardamaro is flavored with the cardoon, a relative of the artichoke, adding a unique taste to the concoction. I detected an almond taste in the drink and learned that it came from orgeat, which is an almond-based syrup often found in tiki drinks. Chocolate bitters provide a counter to the drink’s sweet elements, giving the cocktail an intriguing mix of sweet and bitter tastes. I sipped the cocktail slowly, my palate enjoying the subtle mix of tastes that makes drinking the “sensitive man” such a pleasure.
The first cocktail was such a treat that I had to have another. I asked Steve about his creative process in making the drink. He explained that the drink was a tribute to the Haitian Revolution and to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Walkiewicz said that the drink was his liquid way of honoring the first successful slave revolt in human history. I learned that Walkiewicz is a native of Oklahoma and the son of a professor, who loves Greenpoint and making cocktails for its residents; he has a cool and engaging personality. Go on in and try his “Sensitive Man” for a deliciously complex rum cocktail.