Earlier this year, the internet lost a dear piece of Instagram history, when The Good Sort cafe in New York’s Chinatown closed and took its Rainbow Latte with it to the grave. The layered drink of red beetroot-infused oat milk, yellow turmeric-infused almond milk and blue spirulina-infused coconut milk was a powerhouse of superfood nutrients and theatrics—and it was simply too beautiful for this world. But like a phoenix, the explosively colorful drink has been reborn, new and improved (if you ask us) with the addition of booze.
The owners of The Good Sort, Eddy Buckingham and Jeff Lam, also own upscale restaurant Chinese Tuxedo next door to the cafe. The ornate, high-ceilinged restaurant was once a theater that acted as neutral ground between the rival gangs of Chinatown and below it sits a basement hideaway, the former seat of the criminal Hip Sing Tong organization. While the cavernous space has had many lives since it hosted gangsters, Buckingham and Lam recently transformed the basement into Peachy’s, an equally dramatic yet totally unique bar to complement the restaurant upstairs.
When the bar team set out to create the drinks menu for the new venue, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to revive the Rainbow Latte as a cocktail. “It kind of broke my heart. I really loved The Good Sort,” Buckingham says of the closing, which was a purely economic move. “Because I’m a sentimentalist, I wanted to keep a little through line and keep a little spirit of Good Sort carrying on. The biggest success we had at The Good Sort was the invention of the Rainbow Latte. We decided to take it downstairs.”
To make the wellness drink fit in its new home, the team played with the measurements and picked the perfect spirit to spike it. “The elements have no tradition in tiki or anything like that, but the colors, the vividness, the sense of playfulness really lend themselves to a tiki kind of identity,” Buckingham says. After playing around with a few rums, they found that Plantation Pineapple was a “slam dunk” in the drink. “I knew it was great—I’d tried it myself and was pretty happy with it—but I gave it to a friend and she sipped it and said, ‘Oh my god. This tastes like spring break … and it’s good for you!’” With its all-star roster of good for you ingredients, the drink really is a healthier tropical cocktail. Buckingham explains the beetroot is “high in folate, high in iron, great for circulation,” while the turmeric is a “fabulous anti-inflammatory with lots of antioxidant qualities,” and the spirulina adds amino acids, as well as vitamins and minerals like copper, riboflavin, and thiamin.
If rum drinks aren’t your thing, though, you can always choose another superfood-spiked cocktail from Peachy’s list of “elixirs,” inspired by Buckingham’s love for wellness brand Sun Potion. The drinks include the Chinatown Gimlet made with chlorella, the Dopamine Bean with mucuna pruriens, and the Bloody Angle Sazerac made with ashitaba. (And if you don’t know what any of those ingredients are, just reference the handy glossary in the menu.) “Some people might be cynical about it and that’s fine,” Buckingham says. “I’m not here to fly a flag or prove anything to them. … I buy into it. I endorse it. I’ve been drinking the Great Protector (cocoa nib-infused mezcal, cashew orgeat, thai bird chili bitters, astragalus), and I feel fabulous! You’re going to walk out of the building feeling great and feeling well put together the following day.”
To make The Good Sort Rainbow Latte, as its labelled on the Peachy’s menu, bartenders first add beetroot-infused oat milk, agave syrup and Plantation Pineapple to a branded latte cup repurposed from The Good Sort. After filling the cup with ice, they then add spiced, turmeric-infused almond milk. Finally, in goes coconut milk dyed with Blue Majik, a bright blue powder derived from spirulina algae. Because of the various weights and viscosities, the milks sit on top of one another nicely, slowly mixing as you watch. While it ruins the colorful effect (actually, it turns it kind of a muddy grey), it’s best to stir up the drink before sipping to get the full flavor profile. The drink does in fact taste of its wellness ingredients with a deep earthy sweetness, which combines wonderfully with the fruity rum and infused spices to make an overall taste that’s as layered as the latte looks.