P A U L A L U K A S
For our inaugural #mixologistsofny feature and International Women’s Day, we’re toasting to Paula Lukas, Bar Manager and Head Bartender at Nur, New York City. Inspired by her world travels, background in musical theater, and love for The Beatles, Paula’s crowd-pleasing cocktails have been featured in numerous publications including Food & Wine, Huffington Post, New York Post, and Gotham Magazine. After spending time with Paula and tasting her fresh herb-infused cocktails, it’s clear to see how she builds a following of loyal fans everywhere she goes. We enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon with Paula learning everything from how to properly batch cocktails to how she survived (and thrived in) New York in the 80s!
Favorite cocktail ingredient right now: I love rosemary, sage, and thyme. They enhance the flavor of a cocktail, add a lovely aroma, and are beautiful yet simple garnishes.
A tip for the at-home mixologist: When making a batch cocktail for parties, don't add citrus until an hour or so before serving, and wait to add sparkling ingredients until you're ready to serve. This keeps the citrus fresh and cocktail bubbly!
Best place to have a cocktail: Nightjar in London. Their menu is so creative, the cocktails are delicious, and the staff is friendly. The drink I had was called Beyond the Sea. It was made with Gin Mare, Fino Sherry, oyster leaf infusion, pink grapefruit, plankton air, lime and yuzu salt, served in a seashell.
Two things you would never mix: Guinness and Tequila – I learned the hard way.
Most effective hang-over cure: Alka seltzer is great for a hangover as is pizza, or an Irish Breakfast.
Favorite music to mix to: Anything by the Beatles.
Craziest New York memory: I have lots of those – I survived New York in the 80s! One time, while I was having a drink waiting for a friend, a couple of guys asked me if I had been stood up. I suddenly realized one of the guys was John Cusack! I managed to play it cool and joined them for a few drinks. He was such a nice guy and so down-to-earth.
How you like to enjoy Oliverlane: I invented a delicious Oliverlane and sherry-based cocktail called the Hello Goodbye. The combination of Oliverlane, sherry, and fresh herbs creates a smooth and aromatic profile with the perfect balance of tart and subtle sweetness. Recipe:
1.5 oz Oliverlane
1 oz Lustau Pedro Ximenez San Emilio Sherry
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz honey syrup
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 sage leaves
1 cinnamon stick
In a shaker, combine Oliverlane, sherry, grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey syrup, and two sprigs of rosemary. Add ice. Shake and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with grated cinnamon, the last rosemary sprig, and two sage leaves.
Cheers to you, Paula!