As I bellied up to the bar at The Woolworth on a surprisingly quiet night, the first thing that caught my eye was a massive, obnoxiously gold pineapple. It looked like something that Don Draper would have served ice from in a meeting at Sterling-Cooper, and I immediately began plotting on how I would inconspicuously steal this perfect addition to my own at-home bar cart. Alas, I’d carried a clutch, which meant that if I wanted to spend any time with that golden pineapple, I was going to have to order The Chill Factor.
If there is any better way to sucker an idiot like me into paying too much for a cocktail than pouring it into an incredibly fancy glass and laying on garnishes, I’m not sure what that would be. No matter how good your cocktail is, I’m inevitably going to love it more if you’ve done something to make it presentable. This cocktail is proof positive. It's a whopping $26, and I couldn’t wait to plunk down my cash for this gorgeous drink.
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Aside from being served in a pineapple the size of my head, The Chill Factor is a great sip for this time of year. Ultra-premium Absolut Elyx vodka is mixed with chamomile tea, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lavender honey and hibiscus. With four different, competing floral flavors, this drink somehow manages to stay far away from tasting like your grandmother’s bar of soap, territory it very well could have wandered into.
After it's mixed, the cocktail was garnished with edible flowers, which were a little wilted on my visit, but beautiful perched atop that big fancy bucket of booze nonetheless. As a sort of afterthought, our server plopped in a chunk of dry ice, which boiled away in the cocktail and gave it a fantastic witches brew-style bubble. Unfortunately, the piece of dry ice was just a little too large, which meant that about a quarter of the cocktail went spilling over onto the table. The bartender quickly made it right, topping the pineapple off with a little extra vodka and soda.
The cocktail is designated for two on the menu and it is served with two straws, but I take umbrage at the idea that it could be evenly split between two people. Accounting for the ice, it is unlikely that this drink is alcoholically comparable to two, separately poured $14 cocktails, but no matter, as long as you get there first. You’re likely going to greedily suck The Chill Factor down before your dining companion even has a chance to look up from their blue crab nachos. Once it’s all gone, you’ll start prodding the bartender for the recipe’s proportions so you can figure out how to make actual buckets of this floral and refreshing cocktail to sip poolside. Not that I know this from experience or anything, but it isn’t exactly easy to replicate the recipe they’ve created here.
A $26 cocktail is pretty outrageous to most of us, considering we’ve just barely grown accustomed to paying more than $10 for a drink in Dallas. If The Chill Factor were just about the theatrics — the bubbling dry ice and overpriced edible flowers — it absolutely would be too expensive to even consider. But when mixed all together and poured into that glorious golden pineapple, it is a worthy splurge that will leave you with a serious hankering when you find yourself drenched in sweat on these muggy summer days.