Tag Archives: Brooklyn

A New York Drinkie–Style New Year’s Eve

29 Dec

Are you looking for a place to ring in 2012, but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a crappy open bar, cheap “Champagne” and lukewarm nibbles?  Don’t fret—some of my favorite bars in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens are hosting parties that are either free or worth that $100+ cover. Here’s New York Drinkie’s NYE round-up.

Masquerade New Year’s Eve at Huckleberry Bar

This costumed bash in East Williamsburg features free admission and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. The cozy outdoor garden will be dotted with heat lamps, and DJ Benny B is slated to spin classic soul and funk, reggae, rock, pop, ’80s, house and dance music all night. Masks are not required, but wearing one certainly makes everything more fun.

Prix-Fixe Dinner and Dance Party at Manhattan Inn

Greenpoint’s classic cocktail haven presents a $40 four-course food menu between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. that includes such items as pan-seared scallops, basil pesto agnolotti pasta, molten chocolate cake and a glass of Champagne. Smokin’ Billy Slater provides piano tunes during dinner service, followed by a DJ set by Romantically Uninvolved, which comprises members of Neon Indian, Ego Puppets and Pretty Good Dance Moves.

New Year’s Eve at Night Of Joy

Serving simple yet delicious drinks in a colorful and kitschy setting that recalls the early 20th century, Williamsburg’s Night of Joy is celebrating the new year with the musical stylings of DJ Sadguitarius, aka Ben Goldwasser of MGMT. The free fête also features complimentary Reyka vodka from 11:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

A Punchy New Year’s Eve at 1534

Jacques restaurant’s underground cocktail lair is offering a five-hour open bar of French Colonial­–themed concoctions and an unlimited supply of its special New Year’s Punch, along with hot hors d’oeuvres from the upstairs kitchen.  With handcrafted drinks and a prime Nolita location, this soirée is the priciest, starting at $125 per person. There’s also an option sans open bar for $50 per person, including a complimentary Champagne toast and chocolate-covered strawberries at midnight. DJ Cazual (aka Fame Jenkins) brings the jams.

New Year’s Eve at Louis 649

This Alphabet City drinks den has a killer deal for NYE: a five-hour open bar with passed hors d’oeuvres from 9:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and a Champagne toast at midnight—all for $75 in advance ($95 at the door, which is still a steal). Plus, the Evan Schwam Quartet plays live swing jazz ’til closing.

Moulin Rouge New Year’s Eve at Apotheke

Chinatown’s cocktail mecca pays homage to 19th century French decadence with burlesque performances and free-flowing absinthe, as well as an open bar from 9:00 p.m. to midnight and a Champagne toast. Tickets are $100 in advance or $125 at the door.

New Year’s Eve at Dutch Kills

For revelers partying in Queens, this Long Island City mixology lounge is your best bet. Enjoy the bar’s $8 happy hour menu of classic-style cocktails, including the Whiskey Fix, the Daiquiri No. 1 and the Moscow Mule, and $4 beers. The free celebration also features a Champagne toast at midnight.

Cheers to more cocktail adventures in 2012!

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


Titillating Tonic: Tanqueray paints the town green with Idris Elba and Michael Pitt

15 Jul

Tanqueray gin took over the historic former brass foundry The Green Building in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, to launch its “Tonight We Tanqueray” campaign this week. The palm trees, velvet ropes and stylishly dressed socialites evoked a Hollywood oasis in the tree-lined residential neighborhood.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge gin fan, so I’m always game for a night of cocktails featuring the juniper-infused spirit. The fact that Idris Elba of “The Wire” and “Luther” fame would be also there didn’t hurt.

I headed to the bar and started with the Tiny Ten, a concoction of Tanqueray No. Ten, fresh pink grapefruit juice and sugar. The brand’s more citrus-forward gin provided the perfect backdrop for the splash of grapefruit juice, resulting in a strong yet refreshing drink.

Next I went for the classic French 75, made with Tanqueray London Dry gin, fresh lemon juice and sugar, topped with Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco. The fizzy cocktail had just the right balance of sweet and citrus.

The Crest, comprising London Dry gin and fresh orange and pineapple juices, was just a glorified Gin & Juice, according to one of the bartenders. It was so delicious, I probably could have kept drinking it ’til six in the mornin’.

Instead, I moved on to the Quatro, which was basically an oversized Gin & Tonic served in a large, fishbowl-style goblet. There’s really no better drink than a G&T made with top-notch gin, a high-quality tonic like Fever Tree and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Shortly before musician Aloe Blacc took the stage, fellow Tanqueray cohorts Idris Elba and Michael Pitt emerged to mingle with the crowd. (If their female counterpart—British singer-songwriter/model Karen Elson—was around, I didn’t notice.) Michael Pitt, who appears in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire,” rocked some serious shades.

I got a chance to chat briefly with Elba, who looked quite fetching in a white button-up, black vest and black beret. “So you’re a gin drinker?” I asked. “Apparently,” he replied, with a laugh. I then inquired what his favorite cocktail was, and he said, “An old-fashioned Gin & Tonic,” as he reached for a glass of the aforementioned Quatro.

Coincidentally, Elba’s former “The Wire” co-star Michael Kenneth Williams (aka Omar) was also there, though he was invited by Michael Pitt, with whom Williams currently works on “Boardwalk Empire.” He’s also a fan of Aloe Blacc, who performed a mix of soul, jazz and funk with a full band

After a few songs, Blacc retreated from the stage, and partygoers continued to partake of the still-flowing cocktails as DJs played disco, hip-hop and R&B. Though one drink remained on the list—Rangpur Rocks, which was simply Tanqueray’s lime-infused gin over ice—I decided to cut my losses and head home. Too bad I couldn’t get a ride in The Green Building’s vintage Ford truck.

© 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.

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.

Ahoy, Mateys: A new bar sails into Brooklyn to deliver punch bowls and Belgian brews

9 Feb

On a frigid Friday night in February, my husband and I dared to venture south of Grand Street to a new bar aptly dubbed The Drink on Manhattan Avenue in East Williamsburg. We came in out of the cold and were greeted by a blast of warm, humid air filled with the aroma of hot, cinnamony apple cider. Mismatched furniture, nautical knickknacks lining the off-white walls and the still-standing Christmas tree in the corner added to the homey vibe.

Flea market finds evoked Grandpa’s dusty library.

The well-lit place housed a healthy crowd huddled near the bar and scattered among the five or six tables. Luckily there was an open stool at the end of the counter, and I took a seat. I asked for a cocktail menu, which listed only punch bowls for $43 a pop that contain roughly 10 drinks. The venue does serve one punch by the glass—The Old Gunwhale ($6)—comprising Maker’s Mark Bourbon, fresh grapefruit juice, chamomile tea syrup and spiced cranberry bitters. The mug full of fragrant pink liquid, though iced, warmed my tummy.

The Drink’s hand-crafted cocktails feature fresh juices and herbs, as well as house-made tinctures and syrups. Other punch bowl include the Perfect Storm, mixing Coruba dark Jamaican rum, lime juice, green tea syrup, ginger syrup, Angostura bitters and soda, and the Resolution, blending Juvé y Camps Cava, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, apricot nectar, lemon juice and cinnamon syrup. A few patrons had opted for the super-sized portion, and a lovely fellow named Lee offered me a cup from his punch bowl, which he was sharing with a friend. They’d chosen the Charter, a concoction of Espolón Blanco Tequila, lime juice, ginger syrup, salt tincture, cassis syrup and soda, which was quite tasty—sweet and refreshing and you could barely taste the Tequila. Dangerous!

In addition to the punch bowls, The Drink offers three different Hot Toddies ($7), made with Scotch, orange and clove; Bourbon, lemon and cranberry; or Jameson Irish whiskey and smoked green tea. The delicious odor permeating the room came from the mulled Wassail Cider ($5), featuring apple cider, tart cherry, apricot and either Barbancourt rhum or Bourbon. Of course, The Drink also serves any cocktail upon request. The beer list comprises mostly Belgian labels (each $10 a bottle), such as La Botteresse Brune, a strong brown ale brewed with sage. There is also a variety of German, Australian, Japanese and American beers. The bar was out of Schlenkerla ($9), a smoked light lager from Germany, so my husband chose Full Sail Brewing’s Session Black lager ($5) from Hood River, Oregon. The Drink pours beer on draft as well.

With the quality of the cocktails and the beer selection, it’s not surprising that this place involves Brooklyn heavyweights like Frank Cisneros of Dram lounge, Will Jones of Spuyten Duyvil tavern and Matt Lang of Fette Sau BBQ. I’m not sure what they keep in this barrel, but I bet it’s something good.

© 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.