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Master Mixologist: Rael Petit of DELILAH on the Lower East Side of NYC

We are pleased to profile renowned Mixologist Rael Petit. Petit recently created the cocktail menu for the newly opened restaurant and bar Delilah, where Jerome's once resided, on the Lower East Side in New York City.

Rael Petit came to New York City in 2003 from Switzerland for what was supposed to be his summer vacation. On his first day in the city he visited The Coffee Shop on Union Square where after reminiscing with owner Caroline Benitez, he was offered a job at the hipster café where he learned every aspect of the restaurant business. It was his first job in the hospitality industry, and he immediately fell in love with it. Over the course of the next two years, the Swiss immigrant worked his way up from a bar back to bartender, waiter to maître d'.

In 2005, Petit was brought on board as a Bar Manager at both L'Orange Bleue and Brasserie Les Halles with Anthony Bourdain. At 22, he decided to take a leap of faith and opened his first business, The Potato Cafe in Williamsburg. A couple of years later, Petit was then offered a bartending position at The Standard Hotel, where he met Jeremy Strawn who would become his business partner.

Petit created a cocktail and bar consulting company in 2010 called Rebel Disco, creating drink menus for multiple bars in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including Trump Soho, MPD, STASH, Blackhound and Sub Mercer, Lot 45, The Gansevoort Hotel.

Three years ago, Petit and Strawn joined forces with Nick Boccio and opened Mulberry Project together, which he now co-owns and manages. In 2013, Petit added to his enterprises when he opened the art gallery ROX on the Lower East Side. When Petit is not serving up some of the nation's finest cocktails, or running day-to-day operations at his multiple venues, he can be found running marathons and triathlons with no signs of slowing down.

Broadwayworld.com interviewed Rael Petit to learn about his career and Delilah.

When did you first become interested in the cocktail culture?

I started bartending in the early 00's and got lucky to bartend side by side with Henry Lafargue at l'orange Bleue who was opening Employees Only. He showed me the ropes and would find different silly ways to teach me how to build and create a proper cocktail.

What innovations in mixology and bartending do you find fascinating?

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen and I used to own an art gallery so I try to incorporate the two together.

How do restaurant and bar guests encourage your creativity?

I always have fun interacting with guests because sometimes they ask me for some combination that I didn't think of doing before

What are your preferred "classic cocktails" and why?

Vieux carre is one of my favorites classics it was created in New Orleans and the combination of cognac rye sweet vermouth with some benedictine is so smooth. I can drink that anytime.

What are some of your favorite infusions and how you like to use them in drinks?

As a Swiss men in New York I love playing with any kind of herbs (Rosemary, thyme etc...). I love flaming those herbs on top of a drink or making cordials with them.

Tell us about a few of your signature cocktails and why they are distinctive.

The "Lady Delilah" is my take on a piña colada. Sometimes I just want to have a drink that takes me on a tropical vacation by just drinking it. That drink is made with a homemade saffron coconut milk. Rhum J.M is a rhum agricole from Martinique. Some lime juice, a little bit of my homemade cinnamon and cloves syrup, pineapple juice and a float of amaro ramazotti. The garnish is lego candies that I bought at the Lower East Side candy shop.

Tell us a little about Delilah.

Delilah is a Mediterranean restaurant and lounge with a large focus on a complex but fun cocktail program. The cocktail menu has 8 original cocktails that I created and 8 classics. Instead of regular bottle service, we will be offering a variety of punchbowl cocktails. This program will be available for guests in the next few weeks.

Delilah restaurant and lounge is located at 155 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002. For more information call 212.777.2520 or visit https://www.delilahnyc.com/ and contact them at info@delilahnyc.com. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter @delilahnewyork

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rael Petit


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