The "water dripper" is cooler than it sounds. Tall and curvy, the glassy contraption is produced by the Japanese company Oji and was originally intended for making coffee.
At Piora, in the West Village, head bartender Shinya Yamao had slightly different plans for it. He ran Irish whiskey through the dripper, letting the liquor slowly drip through the roasted coffee to draw out its flavor.
Shinya Yamao, head bartender at Piora
The experiment worked so well, Yamao has since played around with making other kinds of infusions. You can sit down after dinner and sip his beautiful, slowly-extracted fruit-flavored digestifs at the long marble bar, while Yamao, in his pristine pressed white jacket and burgundy-striped tie, cuts ice cubes to order with a very sharp knife.
It's not on the menu, but ask for the cognac infused for 12 hours with a mix of golden and black raisins ($17). Or try Calvados, the French apple brandy. Here, it's had its apple flavors refreshed with Honey Crisp apples ($17). Yamao dehydrates the fruit first so it doesn't add too much moisture.
Piora's digestifs are infused through the Oji water dripper (right)
Yamao is from Toyama, Japan, but has called New York home for over 18 years--long enough for the city to inform the way he constructs his drinks. He serves a snifter of the banana-infused rum, for example, with a dash of chocolate-chile bitters, swirling it together gracefully in his hands ($17).
"Americans like banana and chocolate together," he says with a smile.
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