Ravi DeRossi is a big name in the cocktail world. The New York native traveled the world as an artist and painter before becoming the unofficial cocktail (and now restaurant) king of the East Village. He is the man behind such acclaimed cocktail bars as Death & Company, Amor y Amargo, Coup, the sadly closed Mayahuel, and Cienfuegos, which is a regular stop on our Craft Cocktail Tour. And a few years ago he opened Mother of Pearl, a bar that celebrates the culture of tiki cocktails and Polynesian food.
The mastermind behind the cocktails though is Jane Danger, who is also the beverage director at both Cienfuegos and Ladybird. Jane has worked everywhere from the Nomad to PDT to Little Branch. Jane has also just co-written a book called The Bourbon Bartender with 50 different bourbon cocktail recipes.
Mother of Pearl sits right below Cienfuegos in a beautiful space decorated to transport you to the South Pacific circa the 1940's. And the drinks are as showy and colorful as the dining room.
While tiki cocktails sometimes can be all show and sweetness, these are expertly balanced and playful. Perhaps the most photographed cocktail in the bar (and perhaps in the entire city) is the Shark Eye. Served in a shark-shaped mug, the combination of whiskey, passionfruit, dry curaçao, and maraschino is great on its own. But the icing on the cake is that the glass is covered with blood red tiki bitters. Another one of our favorites is the Tide is High, a smoky tequila and mescal concoction with sweet cashew milk and pineapple.
Like most of Ravi DeRossi's establishments, Mother of Pearl serves only vegan food, which might sound scary for some. But if we didn't tell you it was vegan, you'd have no idea and the food showcases the wonderful delicious things chefs can do with vegetables and fruits. One thing not to miss is the Char Sui Buns made with roasted mushrooms and celery root instead of the usual pork belly.
Like all of DeRossi's establishments, Mother of Pearl is fun and classy but without pretense. The cocktails are superb and will always leave you amazed at the flavor combinations. These are quaffs you certainly would not make at home. And we love that you could easily bar hop from Mother of Pearl to Cienfuegos to Amor y Amargo (the tiny bitter bar around the corner) without ever leaving the building. Talk about cocktail heaven!
Mother of Pearl
95 Avenue A,
New York, New York 10009