The name is, to say the least, eye catching.
“I think people like saying it: What is that drink? I want to try it!” laughs Eric Peele, general manager for Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor. Served in a coupe, its deep-sigh-sunset hue is as gloriously fun to look at as the name is to say aloud in a room full of strangers.
Naked & Famous, though, isn’t some throw-back to the ’80s Sex on the Beach days. It’s a drink that takes its name from a lyric in a Tricky song that the very wonderful and talented Joaquin Simo—he of Death & Co. and Pouring Ribbons fame in NYC—had on constant play as a teenager. As to the seemingly difficult-to-match ingredients, that’s where intuition and art behind the bar come in.
It’s a Latin spirit riff in part, Simo says, on the classic Last Word, which combines gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice. But finding the right combo of the seemingly gloves-off flavors in this drink was a journey he was dedicated to finishing.
“I always describe the Naked & Famous as the bastard love child borne out of an illicit Oaxacan love affair between a vintage Last Word and the modern Paper Planes cocktail,” says Simo. “Choosing a big, aggressively smoky and funky mezcal was key here, as there is relatively little of it in the drink and it needs to stand up against the other two liqueurs, neither of which lacks complexity.”
As he played around with different mezcals and the ingredients of the classic inspirations, flavor guided him to a few important decisions. Instead of Green Chartreuse, as in the Last Word, he pivoted to Yellow, as its honeyed herbaceous nature actually combined well with fruit-forward notes of Aperol, creating complexity instead of something reminiscent of cloying cough syrup.
“The Aperol-Yellow Chartreuse marriage was a big hit, and from there it was just finding the right mezcal to make the Naked & Famous really pop,” says Simo, who eventually settled on Del Maguey’s Chichicapa.
“People are intrigued by mezcal, but the minute you mix it’s almost like a whisky, like a smoky single malt Lagavullin,” says Peele. “It was really popular last summer when we first put it on the menu, so we kept it going. The color is great and nice that it’s an equal parts thing—we always have them on the shelf!”
Hit up Page 63 for a perfectly made version, or download some Tricky and try your hand at making Simo’s recipe at home. What you do with your clothes is your own business.
Joaquin Simo’s Naked & Famous
- 3/4 oz mezcal
- 3/4 oz Aperol
- 3/4 oz yellow Chartreuse
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice