Best Lemon Drop - 2003
The Lemon Drop was invented for people who don't like the taste of alcohol but admire its narcotic potential, and when done well it's worthy of consideration, a sweet, puckery stepping stone from the lemonade of youth to the Calvados of senility. At Soléa, an excellent French restaurant a couple of blocks from Union Square, the Lemon Drops are done very well. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is muddled with sugar, combined with a dollop of Pallini Limoncello liqueur and a sizable slug of vodka, shaken with ice to the arctic stage, and strained into the damnedest deco-meets-Jetsons martini glass you've ever seen. The result is frosty and festive with a perfect balance between tart and sweet and a delayed-action jolt of opiate tranquility. The cozy bar area is a popular rendezvous, with lots of relaxed chatter and a menu of upscale noshes: tuna tartare with guacamole, potato fritters with goat cheese, lamb sausage with arugula, and the like. Be sure to save room for dinner: Chef Bruno Feldeisen's creations are among the best in the city.