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Craft cocktails, vintage decor and a laid-back atmosphere have made Greenpoint’s Ramona a go-to for both casual night outs and birthday gatherings. Filmmaker Will McCord recently got a glimpse behind the bar as co-owner, Scott Schneider demonstrated how he makes one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails and spoke with me about the inspiration for their drinks, which cocktails to try now and the opening of their new (old) bar Elsa in Cobble Hill that you might remember from the East Village.
EB: Of all the cocktails at Ramona why did you decide to show us the Golden Fang?
SS: We always like to highlight tequila and mezcal cocktails. Those are our top sellers. The Golden Fang was one of the harder drinks to make. It took a few tries to get the amount of peppercorn right, too much and people feel like they are having an allergic reaction, but once the fine-tuning was done it has been selling like crazy.
EB: What are some of the other cocktails that we should try when at Ramona?
SS: If you like gin the Handsome Grandson: gin with bay leaf syrup, lime, basil and topped with soda. Don’t think of the bay leaf you have on pasta it’s from Bangladesh and has a completely different flavor. The drink is refreshing with an earthy lightness.
The Hotel Danger: peach mezcal, chipotle, agave, lemon, aperol, grapefruit twist. It’s a smokey, but back of the throat spicy drink.
The Self Portrait: cilantro tequila, lemon, agave, and habanero. It’s refreshing as the spice hits you quickly and then goes away.
EB: How often do are you creating you creating new cocktails?
SS: With Elsa, opening a month ago we start the cocktails at each bar but then move apart so each menu has a few of its own drinks. We use to create seasonally, but not with adding frozen drinks in it’s about once a month.
EB: Tells us about the inspiration for Ramona?
SS: At the time we had Elsa in East Village, and we always had requests for large parties but it was small space. When we saw a big space in Greenpoint, with a, large indoor balcony it just worked. We wanted a vibe of smaller speakeasy style bar, but without the dress code a laid back place to have fun.