“Mooncakes!!??, a Chinese friend said to me over breakfast recently. “Nobody likes them, they’re like fruitcake for Asians.” The dense cakes stamped with Chinese characters are traditionally eaten (sometimes begrudgingly) and gifted—much like fruitcake—for the Moon Festival, which falls on Sunday, September 27 this year. All sorts of mooncakes, including novelty ones for pandas and those made from Taiwanese hornet hives are prepared for the fall harvest festival, which is held on the night of the full moon between early September and early October.
For all the mooncake haters in the house, Leaf Bar & Lounge, a rooftop lounge atop the Hyatt at One Fulton Square offers another way to celebrate the festival, with a fine libation. (For the record I alway liked egg nog better than fruitcake anyway.) Flushing’s first craft cocktail bar has created a drink to savor while gazing at the harvest moon. Mid-Autumn Memories ($12) combines Bombay Sapphire East, Fernet Branca, Heering Cherry Liqueur and New York Madeira Sherry. If you can’t make it to Leaf, or can’t wait until Sunday check out the recipe below.
Leaf Bar & Lounge’s Mid-Autumn Memories
1.5 ounces Bombay Sapphire East
1/2 ounce Concord grape shrubs
1/4 ounce Fernet Branca
1/4 ounce Heering Cherry Liqueur
1/4 ounce New York Madeira Sherry
Garnish: Concord grapes, pomegranate molasses brandy and toasted almonds
Prep: Soak concord grapes in pomegranate molasses brandy overnight. Finely chop toasted almonds.
Method: Build in Yarai mixing glass. Add all ingredients to mixing glass, and add ice, and stir vigorously until mixing glass becomes frosty. Strain into a rocks glass lightly coated with orange oil, and over a large ice cube. Garnish with a skewer of three concord grapes soaked in pomegranate molasses and dipped in toasted almonds.
Leaf Bar and Lounge, 133-42 39th Avenue, Flushing, 718-685-8158