“Mixology isn’t taking itself as seriously as it once did,” says Eben Freeman, the man behind the bar at Genuine Liquorette, New York’s latest after-work drinks spot. Freeman has the authority to say such things, having helped kick off the cocktail craze in the mid-2000s at Tailor, a restaurant where he updated old standards using ingredients such as brown-butter-infused rum and smoked Coca-Cola. Today, as the beverage director for AvroKO—an architecture firm that’s behind boîtes like Genuine Liquorette on both coasts—he isn’t trying to walk back that legacy so much as mellow it out.
Key to that mission is the classic aluminum can. “As we know, cans are very cool now,” Freeman says. Recently, they’ve shown up in place of glass at bars and liquor trade shows in the form of extra-carbonated gin and tonics or precanned Negronis. In Genuine Liquorette’s subterranean space, they’re mixing cocktails directly into them using special garnishes and mini liquor bottles.