The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Tom Macy’s The Green Giant

Nominated by Julie Reiner, a judge at the World Class Bartender of the Year competition 2013, and owner of Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club and Mixtress Consulting in New York.

Clover Club is a Victorian gothic venue in Brooklyn with wood panels, white tiles, leather seats, a tin ceiling and velvet curtains, just like an upscale lounge from the turn of the 20th century. The bar itself, an antique of 1897 salvaged from Pennsylvania is ornately carved and the ambience is classy yet still completely laid back. You’ll find it in Carroll Gardens, one of the hippest neighbourhood’s in NYC’s most happening borough. The venue in its current guise is five years old and famous for its pre-prohibition classic cocktail stylings and seasonal offerings. There’s New American food too, a jazz trio on Wednesday nights and the occasional burlesque show. Primarily an evening hunt, Clover Club is also famous for its amazing brunch and extensive accompanying cocktail list.

The Bartender

Tom Macy is head bartender at Julie’s Clover Club. He says the best piece of advice he was given on bartending came from mixologist Katie Stipe (Last Call Consulting), one of Tom’s biggest influences, who said to imagine the customer taking a photo of a drink in order to master the detail in presentation. ‘It has trickled down into so many aspects of my work,’ says Tom, ‘how clean I keep my station, how efficiently I move, how I interact with guests – it’s all about details.’ Tom likes to experiment with ingredients, creating such novelties as pine needle tincture, garam masala aquavit and curried rum, all of which proved delicious.

The Drink

Bright and fresh, a perfect spring/early summer beverage, the Green Giant fuses the fresh flavours of Tanqueray Ten with seasonal and locally sourced sugar snap peas. ‘I decided to do a spring menu featuring vegetables, since fruit so often gets to shine, ‘explains Tom, ‘I was perusing the local market and the sugar snap and the tarragon called out at me.’ The ingredient list is short to keep the focus on the Tanqueray, peas and the herb. ‘I’ve tasted a lot of cocktails at this point in my career and this is one of the best and most creative drinks I have experienced in the past few years,’ says Julie, ‘the ingredients are unique and unexpected, yet they blend perfectly.’

The Technique

Tanqueray No. Ten • 50ml
Fresh lemon juice • 20ml
Dolin Dry Vermouth • 15ml
Simple syrup • 30ml
Sugar snap peas • 6
Tarragon leaves • 8-10
Contains 22 grams of alcohol per serve

Halve and muddle 4 of the peas with the tarragon in the simple (sugar) syrup. Add the remaining liquids and shake. Strain into a double rocks glass with crushed ice and garnish with the remaining peas.

This crisp and fresh drink is designed for the dawn of spring in New York City, as Julie explains: ‘It’s like spring in a glass.’ It’s a nice brunch drink, or good as the first drink of the evening. Sit up front by the open doors and watch the folk on Smith Street.

‘I just hate the winter,’ says Julie, ‘I’m from Hawaii and every year I yearn for it to end. This drink woke me up from the bitter cold and helped usher in a new season, one that I couldn’t wait to begin.’

Tom’s Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn

Place to eat
Van Horn

Place to relax
Prospect Park

Place to lounge
Greenwood Park beer garden

Place to shop
Stinky Brooklyn

Place to visit
Cobble Hill

Place to see
Red Hook

Images by Shannon Sturgis