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The 5 Most Insane Things About Cocktail ‘Mad Genius’ Dave Arnold’s New Bar

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Existing Conditions has gone to some serious lengths for its drinks

Two cocktails at Booker and Dax, photographed from the side, with an egg white top and a finish of bitters Photo by Nick Solares

More details are out about cocktail visionary Dave Arnold’s upcoming Greenwich Village bar Existing Conditions, and they are as wacko as one might expect coming from the former owner of Booker and Dax.

Arnold, with his avant-garde style of bartending, has teamed up with other enterprising drink-makers Don Lee (PDT) and Greg Boehm (Boilermaker) to open the bar at 35 West 8th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues, employing the scientific methods — like extraction via centrifuge spinning and liquid nitrogen chilling — for which the trio are known.

While unorthodox methods and obscure ingredients were always expected, the lengths these guys went to for some of the drinks is next-level, Punch reports. Here are the five most insane things known so far about Existing Conditions, which will debut in late May or early June.

1. They smuggled honey from Mexico for a drink

Non-alcoholic drinks are getting all sorts of attention here, and for one — the Stingless — they have literally smuggled honey in from Mexico. The honey is made by the Melipona bee, which is a stingless insect native to Mexico that reportedly favors pollinating vanilla orchids. The steep price of the honey, apparently around $100 per kilogram, maybe explains why the non-alcoholic drinks will be the same price as the boozy ones ($15).

2. They sourced specific water from Saratoga Springs for its salinity levels

Water gets just as much love here as other liquids, and the guys tapped a specific source in Saratoga Springs for its Paloma cocktail. Apparently the water from this place, Hathorne No. 3, is a third as salty as the ocean and already cold and naturally carbonated. Drinks writer Robert Simonson, here in Punch, says it gives the drink “a saline snap with no addition of salt.”

3. The sparkling water is nitrogenated, not carbonated

Most sparkling water is made bubbly through carbonation, but here nitrogen is used. Arnold prizes that method instead for “softer” and sweeter bubbles. The method has become popular in other industries — producing the once-hip nitro coffee and nitro beer — but it hasn’t yet made its way over to the water world.

4. Waffles have been liquified in one cocktail experiment, and fried chicken might be next

Waffles may be making their way into an Old-Fashioned, created by soaking the bread into Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, separating the fat, and adding syrup. The team hinted that a fried chicken version is also in the works.

5. The bottled cocktail vending machine will be vintage

Those who simply can’t wait for a drink a la minute can instead choose from two ‘60s-style soda machines that have been filled with 70 bottled cocktails. They will dispense with both bottled Manhattans and martinis; a hostess provides the tokens to nab one.

Existing Conditions

35 West 8th Street, Manhattan, NY 10011 (212) 203-8935 Visit Website

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