Bowling alleys aren't the first place one thinks to go for culinary craftsmanship.
Don't get me wrong — they serve a wonderful, storied purpose to Americana. Where else can you have that much fun drinking cheap beer, downing dried-out hot dogs and wearing funny, smelly "clown shoes"? I mean, nowhere.
But America's favorite participation sport isn't exactly a cultured experience. Unless, that is, you happen up an elevator and into the magical 12-lane boutique bowling land of Mustang Alley's in Little Italy. By now, you may have been there — Mustang's has been in the neighborhood for the past six years. What you might not realize is that they have a growing cocktail program at their full-service bar. "We are out to prove it's not all warm pitchers of beer and bowling alley pizza," says Mustang's manager, Lindsay Huber. And they make a good case with the striking, gin-based 7-10 Split.
I promise not to lay out too many more puns on you but really, the 7-10 Split is based around one. As Huber explains, "A split in bowling is when the first ball rolled in a frame knocks down the headpin but leaves standing two or more non-adjacent groups of one or more pins. Getting a spare in a split situation is difficult … a 7-10 split is one of the hardest to pick up. The 7-10 Split is our take on a killer drink." The cocktail appeals to all sides of the palate. Light and refreshing, it's a nice late-summer transition drink that cools while also bringing a little warmth.
The cucumber-infused Hendrick's gin is the base, which head bartender Brad Alterwitz utilizes to play off the other ingredients, most house-made and seasonal. Alterwitz infuses a cucumber puree with a touch of sake and simple syrup with cilantro. Add in fresh lime and lemon juices and you have a full flavor profile: the citrus hits your taste buds in the back and the front, while the gin and sake round in the middle, creating a sweet, smooth herbaceous experience.
I'm not exactly sure the 7-10 Split will help improve your score, but ordering a classy martini at a bowling alley made those gutter balls feel way more worth it.
How to Make The 7-10 Split
2 parts Hendrick's gin
1 part cucumber puree
1/2 part cilantro-infused simple syrup
1/2 part lemon and lime juices
Shake all ingredients; pour into iced martini glass, top with club soda. Garnish with cucumber and serve.
Where to Get The 7-10 Split
1300 Bank St., Little Italy