Local Libations: Brooklyn Brewery and neighborhood bars benefit the community

30 Jun

Drink Williamsburg Greenpoint took place at Brooklyn Brewery earlier this week to help raise money that will go toward building the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center, a joint project of the Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and The People’s Firehouse Inc. Featuring local watering holes serving up signature cocktails, the event was a pre-cursor to Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint, which benefits the same cause, on September 18th.

When I arrived at the brewery, the party was well underway and folk-jazz band Djangos and Tangos played with gusto. I made my way around the room, starting with one of my favorite neighborhood bars, The Richardson. The Polish Bear combined Zubrówka Bison Grass vodka and birch juice, garnished with a cucumber slice, and had a watery, grassy, slightly anise-like taste.

Next was Fat Goose, which offered the Saigon Sling, mixing Pimm’s No. 1, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, lime juice and pink peppercorn simple syrup. Garnished with a slice of fresh ginger root, the drink was spicy and gingery.

Rabbithole’s classic-style King’s Point comprised Bushmills Irish whiskey, Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth, absinthe, orange peel and gomme syrup. The flavors mingled together to create a subtle yet complex cocktail.

Dram presented a gin-less Negroni, blending Campari, Aperol, Cynar, and Dolin Blanc and Rouge vermouths, garnished with an orange peel. The concoction had a sweetly bitter, citrusy taste.

The Drink, which I visited back in February, ladled out one of its signature punches, The Mutiny. Comprising spearmint-infused Espolón Tequila, fresh watermelon and locally made Brooklyn Hemispherical rhubarb bitters, the libation was sweet and fruity with a hint of mint.

Manhattan Inn’s Bayside combined Herradura Blanco Tequila, Lillet, bay leaf syrup and lemon juice. The light and refreshing cocktail had a pleasantly floral flavor and an herbal aroma.

The Brooklyn Winery offered a white wine sangria mixing the winery’s Riesling and Chardonnay with chunks of apple, mango, passion fruit, peach and strawberries. The tart tropical drink was delicious and perfect for summer.

Maison Premiere served the Helado Verde, blending vanilla ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, DonQ Cristal rum and Pernod absinthe. The thick, shake-like concoction was decadently delicious.

Lastly, I tried Brooklyn Brine’s Whiskey Sour Pickletini, made with the company’s whiskey sour pickles, Vesica vodka and dry vermouth. The drink was briny and tangy.

Grown-Up Soda, aka GuS, provided bottles of fizzy pop in flavors like Extra Dry Ginger Ale and Star Ruby Grapefruit. I imagine they’d be great for an easy cocktail mixed with your favorite spirit.

The night ended with an “Iron Bartender” competition featuring four mixologists from The Richardson, Manhattan Inn, Fat Goose and The Drink. The contestants had 20 minutes to create two cocktails—one made with a light spirit and one made with a dark spirit—and each drink had to incorporate a secret ingredient: a chili pepper or Belgian dark candi sugar syrup, courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery. They could also choose items from a spread of fresh produce.

Joel Lee Kulp of The Richardson utilized Snap liqueur, ginger syrup and Cholula hot sauce.

Manhattan Inn’s Adam Schmidt stirred together Tabasco and lemon juice.

Sara Harper of The Drink and the bartender from Fat Goose (I didn’t catch his name) prepared their cocktails using a variety of fresh herbs and fruits.

Toby Maloney of Alchemy Consulting judged the competition, alongside Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver and Time Out New York’s Mari Uyehara.

It was exciting to watch mixology in action.

After the judges carefully considered each drink, Harper took the top prize, with her Hornitos Reposado Tequila/kumquat juice/habanero pepper Dawn Treader and her Maker’s Mark Bourbon/peach/tarragon/dark candi sugar syrup Crown and Anchor.

All in all, it was a glorious evening, and for a good cause. I’m looking forward to the event in September!

© Amber Drea and New York Drinkie, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of images and text without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that clear credit is given to Amber Drea and New York Drinkie with links directing to the original content.

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