Satisfying bowls of Fettuccine Bolognese are often the allure of a neighborhood trattoria -- not ingenuity. "You can only get so creative," points out Steven Gallo, co-owner of Italian restaurant Galli, a cozy, candlelit escape from Soho's Prada-prowling masses. The Long Island native's childhood was filled with visits to traditional red sauce joints, and for Galli he envisioned a more compelling interpretation of familiarity.
One way of amplifying the comfort food menu is through the drinks, an "opportunity to explore new tastes." Consider the Lansky. On stifling summer evenings -- of which we've had plenty -- even the most ardent of whiskey fans may pass on their usual Manhattan in favor of a more refreshing tipple. But the balanced Lansky makes savoring rye a possibility in the stickiest of hours. Named for bootlegger Meyer Lansky, Gallo's "favorite gangster," it's illuminated with Aperol and lemon, while amaro ensures its backbone never goes weak. "Even with the power of the rye and the strong flavor of the amaro, the freshness of the orange twist pulls it all together for a light, unexpected, easy-to-drink cocktail," says Gallo. While waiting for your pea-studded rice balls to arrive, sip on one instead of that go-to glass of Soave.
¾ oz. Rittenhouse Rye
¾ oz. Ramazzotti Amaro
¾ oz. Aperol
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a rocks glass. Finish with an orange peel.