Ordering an amaretto sour at any quality bar these days will surely garner an eye roll.
But, if you dare request the drink ($12) at Rubirosa, the one it serves will be nothing like the ones you drank in college. Made with Caffo Amaretto from Calabria, this sour is balanced and refreshing.
So, to enjoy the fine pizza and baked-to-order sfogliatelle here, we find ourselves bellying up to the bar at this new Nolita restaurant with Staten Island roots. Matthew Houlihan, an 'Inoteca Liquori alum, is at the helm, and he specializes in Italian-inspired cocktails that are at once inventive and approachable.
Houlihan and bartender Scott Kennedy, who also put in time at 'Inoteca Liquori, shake up well-executed concoctions such as the Constantinople ($12), in which Nonino Quintessentia amaro heightens a blend of anCnoc single-malt Scotch, maraschino and lemon. Herbaceous Averna rescues a thick whole-egg Porfirio Flip ($12) with sarsaparilla-infused rum and demerara sugar from becoming dessert.
Even classics acquire a contemporary spin here. The heady Black Manhattan ($12) swaps vermouth for Averna and Lillet, and mezcal and rye comingle in the smoky Cactus old-fashioned ($12; click here for the recipe).
Now the bar is your pizza's new best friend.
Rubirosa, 235 Mulberry St. (between Prince and Spring sts.); 212-965-0500 or rubirosanyc.com