Looking for a good place to drink this weekend? If you're tired of the same old options, here's a guide to some of the city's best drinks of the moment. Some come from places that have just opened, some are new to the menu, and some are just pitch perfect choices for this particular weekend.
July 10, 2015
FOR A BEER AND A SHOT COMBO, BUT CLASSIER
Head to: Boilermaker, the new bar from San Diego cocktail wiz Erik Castro that excels at the beer and shot combo it's named after.
Drink: A boilermaker. Standouts include classics like the National Anthem, which pairs Brooklyn Lager and Old Grand-Dad bourbon ($8) or slightly more upscale duos like the Breakfast of Champions, which combines a shot of Meletti Amaro and Founder's Breakfast stout ($9).
FOR WHEN YOUR EYES ARE BIGGER THAN YOUR LIVER
Head to: The Up & Up, the new MacDougal Street cocktail bar from The Beagle vet Matt Piacentini where the vibe is relaxed, but the cocktails are serious.
Drink: Anything on the bar's $8 half-pour menu. The Quinine Jimmy, which is made with Tomr's tonic, Angostura bitters, and lime peel is refreshing and safe to drink all day. Or try the Diving Partner—Lillet blanc, yellow chartreuse, Dimmi, and Peychaud's bitters—if you want to work a slight buzz.
FOR A BOTTLED (SERIOUSLY INSTAGRAMMABLE) COCKTAIL
Head to: Marta, Danny Meyer's pizza joint/oenophile hangout.
Drink: A bottle-aged negroni, the perfect summer cocktail in very cute packaging. It comes in a classic red iteration—Beefeater, Campari, and Cinzano Rosso—as well as a white one—G'Vine Gin, Suze, and Bianco Montanaro. Both cost $14. ( For those that can mix cocktails and wine, it's worth noting that Marta's selection is great and very underpriced.)
June 26, 2015
FOR THE BEST SAKE SELECTION IN THE CITY
Head to: Sakagura, an izakaya that's hidden beneath an office building near Grand Central and happens to have the largest sake list in the city.
Drink: Kiminoi "Emperor's Well" Yamahai Junmai Ginjo ($34 for a carafe). This sake is produced in the traditional Yamahai method, meaning that a slower, natural fermentation is kicked off by airborne lactic acid (and some heat). If you think sake is too neutral tasting, try this style — it's dry, full-bodied, and very funky.
FOR A RAINBOW COCKTAIL TO CELEBRATE LEGALIZED SAME SEX MARRIAGE
Head to: Rebelle, the French, wine-focused restaurant from the Pearl and Ash team.
Drink: A Pousse Café ($18). Ordering a cocktail at this wine spot is a good idea, trust us. Despite its intense kitsch factor, this is a very well made drink and it seems a fitting way to toast the landmark Supreme Court decision made today. Bartender Eben Klemm makes this cocktail by rinsing a glass with absinthe and then layering it with house-made grenadine, grapefruit liqueur, Gran Classico (sort of like Campari), green apple and celery milk punch, chartreuse, and some overproof rum. Be careful, it packs an alcoholic punch.
TO LEARN ABOUT SOME OBSCURE ITALIAN BUBBLES
Head to: All'onda, Chris Jaeckle's Venetian/Japanese restaurant near Union Square.
Drink: Dubl Aglianico Brut Rosé ($110). The wine list makes a great case for the under-appreciated sparkling wines of Italy. Try Dubl, a sparkling Aglianico (a grape sometimes referred to as the Nebbiolo of the south) that is made in the same way as champagne. It's a unique wine with a serious pedigree, it's made as a collaboration between famed champagne producer Jacques Selosses and Italian winery Feudi di San Gregorio.
IF YOU WANT TO BUY A DRINK FOR 5-7 OF YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS
Head to: The Nomad Bar, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara's cocktail bar, which has fancy, potent drinks that are as large as your head.
Drink: Madison Park Smash ($120). Leo Robitschek came up with this "cocktail explosion" in response to some poorly-prepared, ungarnished large format cocktails he'd been seeing served around the city. It's really pretty, served in an easy-to-use giant spigot jar, and combines fancy ingredients like cognac, Royal Combier, lemon, Angostura bitters, mint and pebble-sized ice to great effect. Plus, it shaves the price down from $16 a drink to about $12-13.
June 20, 2015
FOR A ROOM TEMPERATURE OR SCAFFA COCKTAIL
Head to: Slowly Shirley, the geeky, 40s era cocktail lounge beneath The Happiest Hour.
Drink: The Pretty Lush—Rhum Clement Canne Bleu, banana liqueur, Douglas Fir liqueur, cane syrup, celery bitters, and a measured amount of filtered water for controlled dilution. The end result is a surprisingly refreshing cocktail with balanced tropical and vegetal notes. Head bartender John Henderson who came up with the drink says serving it at room temperature helps showcase "some of the more nuanced and delicate notes of a complex base spirit," in this case a single cane varietal agricole rhum. This is one of the only bars in the world where you can get this style of drink, so consider adding it to your weekend agenda.
FOR SOME ORANGE WINE AND POSSIBLE CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS
Head to: The Four Horsemen, the new Williamsburg wine bar helmed by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy.
Drink: Radikon's Slatnik 2012. James Murphy's wine epiphany occurred while drinking an Italian orange wine. So maybe you should do the same at his new bar. And, in terms of orange wine producers (Italian or otherwise), it's hard to beat Radikon. Slatnik, a blend of 80 percent Chardonnay and 20 percent Tocai Friulano, is the most easy-going of Radikon's offerings, making it a great gateway into the funky, tannic world of orange wine. It smells like peaches, but with a nutty, saline twang and a bracing dose of bitterness. Head to Williamsburg to give it a try and don't forget to look around for celebrities.
FOR AN UNDER THE RADAR BAR WITH KILLER BEER
Head to: The Owl Farm, an under-appreciated Park Slope beer bar that offers great selections in a relaxed atmosphere. The bar is throwing a 20-hour-long party to celebrate its third anniversary today. This means a crazier selection of draft beers than normal and some rare, special release bottles that will be opened and offered by the glass.
Drink: Cantillon's Iris. This Belgian producer is known for sour, spontaneously fermented lambics, but this beer's a little different. It's made with no wheat, which lends it a darker amber color and what the brewery's website describes as a complexly "bitter and slightly caramelized taste." Don't worry if sour beers aren't your jam because the list is an embarrassment of beer geek riches. Rare Danish brews from Mikkeller, Spanish-style sidra from Millstone and even a smoky Rauchbier—they've got something for everyone.
June 6, 2015
FOR THE BEST COCKTAIL $8 CAN BUY
Head to: Dutch Kills, Richard Boccato and Sasha Petraske's LIC cocktail bar. It combines friendly service, sexy, low-lit wooden booths, and just the right amount of cocktail idolatry.
Drink: A rum buck. Basically a Moscow mule, but with rum swapped in for the vodka. The version at Dutch Kills displays a level of precision rarely seen in an $8 cocktail—perfectly rectangular ice cubes, house made ginger syrup, and a crystallized candy garnish. Stick around after happy hour ends for some revived classic cocktails like a Queens Park swizzle (pictured) or a Ramos gin fizz, known for its notorious 12 minute shake time, but happily prepared by the bartenders here.
FOR SOME EXCELLENT GREEK RED WINE
Drink: Domaine Economou 1998 ($110). This bottle hits a few of those wine geek buzzwords—80-year-old vines, obscure origin and variety (Crete, Liatiko), and no sulfur. But, more importantly, it's an incredible value for a bottle with some age on it—brick garnet color and aromas that include fruit (cherry), but focus more on non-fruit smells like leather, truffle, and earth. This is a wine that would easily cost double if it came from Barolo, which it is often compared to.
FOR BEER THAT TASTES LIKE MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
Head to: Torst, the beer nerd's wet dream. It's set up with a custom tap system that carbonates and chills each line to the optimal temperature. The bar also provides a stellar selection of bottled brews.
Drink: Westbrook's extremely limited release Mexican Cake Imperial Stout. The name might make it sound sweet and cloyingly viscous—cake, Imperial Stout, etc. But the weight and cocoa flavors are kept in check with plenty of cinnamon and a good dose of habanero peppers, which combine into an unusual, but well-balanced beer. Warning: although it's delicious, this is not a "sessionable" beer. An Imperial Stout that clocks in at 10% and with that much spice is more of a one and done brew.
FOR AN OLD SCHOOL NEW YORK BAR EXPERIENCE
Head to: Bemelman's, the old school New York bar to end them all. Ludwig Bemelmans, better known as the guy who illustrated the popular children's book series, Madeline, also painted the murals at this classic piano bar. Neither the artwork nor the rest of the bar appears to have changed in 60 years, white-jacketed bartenders and all.
Drink: A martini. This kind of atmosphere demands a similarly classic cocktail.
May 24, 2015
IF YOU LIKE YOUR BEER SOUR, BUT NOT TOO SOUR
Head to: Proletariat. This tiny beer bar features gritty tattoo-inspired decor and a constantly rotating selection of rare brews served up by some of the city's most knowledgable bartenders. The equally geeky playlist only adds to the experience.
Drink: Go for Telekinesis, the dry-hopped sour from Grimm's Artisanal Ales. This bright, citrus-laden beer strikes the perfect balance between funky tartness and drinkability. Former Dirty Projectors musician Joe Grimm and his wife Lauren are the brains behind this crafty microbrewery and every beer they make is only released once and in limited quantities. So drink this while you can.
FOR ONE OF THE RICHEST, RAREST FINO SHERRIES IN THE WORLD
Head to: Donostia, the Ave B tapas bar that combines a relaxed, Basque atmosphere with a serious beverage program.
Drink: Gonzalez Byass's Una Palma Fino. Purported to have the largest by the glass selection of sherry in the country, there are plenty of great options at Donostia. The must-order is a fino sherry from Tio Pepe's Palma collection. In Jerez, a "palma" is a mark used by a cellar-master to indicate a finer, more age-worthy sherry. So, these sherries are the best of the best. The "flor" or layer of yeast that gives fino sherry its saline, almond flavors was kept for six years, much longer than normal. Also this sherry was bottled "en rama" or unfiltered, which also makes for a richer, more flavorful finished product. Donostia is one of the only restaurants in the city that serves this highly sought-after producer and it's even available by the glass. Go try some now.
TO TRY SOME LIFE ALTERING 45-YEAR-OLD CHARTREUSE
Head to: Pouring Ribbons, the craft cocktail bar from Death & Co and Milk & Honey vets offers an astonishing selection of chartreuse ranging in price from $6 to $200 an ounce.
Drink: 1970s yellow Tarragona chartreuse out of a half bottle. The menu describes it with flavors of black licorice, cardamom, and sandalwood. Considering the wide range of botanicals that go into making chartreuse, it's hard to pinpoint specific flavors, but this vintage bottling offers a more delicate and deeper flavor than it's modern counterpart, which the helpful bartenders are happy to pour side by side for the purposes of comparison. Virtually inaccessible in any other bar, this incredibly nuanced and textured spirit is definitely worth seeking out.
IF YOU LIKE THE TASTE OF BANANAS FOSTER (AND MAYBE EVEN IF YOU DON'T)
Head to: Booker and Dax, Dave Arnold's cocktail laboratory next door to Momofuku that uses liquid nitrogen and all manner of scientific techniques to create superior cocktails.
Drink: Banana Justino, a ridiculously simple, two-ingredient drink blends rum and banana and then clarifies it using a centrifuge. The resulting cocktail tastes like caramel and tropics, with a slight bite from the rum to keep it from getting cloying. Perilously easy to drink, a companion who previously expressed distaste for both rum and banana flavored drinks ordered another round.
May 16, 2015
IF YOU READ ANY REVIEWS THIS WEEK
Drink: Any of the four sherries offered by the glass. Perez Barquero's amontillado would pair well with any of the restaurant's richer, meatier dishes. You can't really go wrong with the drinks here, though. The well chosen, often obscure selections carry over to the cocktail and wine list as well.
IF YOU'RE FEELING SOME NOSTALGIA FOR THE 70S
Head to: Joe's Bar, the latest addition to the Upper West Side bar scene.
Drink: Anything retro. A Golden Cadillac combines long-abandoned liqueurs like Galliano and creme de cacao. For something less sweet (even though that kind of misses the point of 70s revival drinks) try the Rob Roy—scotch, Carpano, and bitters.
IF YOU LIKE YOUR WINE POURED OUT OF BIG BOTTLES
Head to: Bar Boulud, where you can drink good wine while sitting outside.
Drink: Wine director Michael Madrigale offers glass pours from the selection of larger bottles he's collected at Bar Boulud. Every night he opens a different bottle, and pours until it's empty. The selection is far-reachingly Mediterranean, like the menu, encompassing regions like Greece and Sicily. Madrigale announces each night's bottle on his Instagram account, in case you'd like to know what it is before making the trip.
TO GET YOUR VERY OWN 'PERSONAL JESUS'
Head to: Black Rose, the day-old bar that just opened in the former Odessa space.
Drink: Into lavender? Try the Personal Jesus— Death's Door Gin, lavender syrup, lime juice, herbaceous lemon vodka, and lavender bitters.
FOR A SCENEY, SUMMERY COCKTAIL IN THE MEATPACKING
Head to: Santina, the Torrisi Boys' ode to seaside Italy.
Drink: The View From Positano—Gin, black pepper, and strawberry. According to Ryan Sutton, "it's what liquefied bubble gum would taste like if it had balance and complexity." The kitschy scene borders on ridiculous, but the restaurant gets bonus points for its definitively warm weather vibe and ample outdoor seating.
May 9, 2015
FOR A GLASS OF CIDER
Head to: Wassail, the city's first bar dedicated to hard cider.
Drink: While cider is the obvious choice (and a good one) the apple drinks at this bar extend far beyond that. Wassail offers numerous apple cocktails and five pommeaux—an aperitif that blends apple cider and brandy. Try the Bunker's Love Affair cocktail, which blends both pommeau and cider with Suze, to make a decidedly apple-y, yet bittersweet drink.
FOR A FRUITY DRINK BECAUSE IT'S SUMMER
Head to: Raines Law Room
Drink: The Sherry Cobbler. So this thirst-quenching drink isn't exactly new—it waspopularized in New York in the late 1830s—but the best season to enjoy the drink has just started. Raines Law Room makes a fruity but not-too-sweet version, which Eater Drinks editor Kat Odell called "seriously addictive," and has an outdoor patio for you to drink it in. The nutty, saline character of the sherry is perfectly offset by citrus, berries, and a small hit of simple syrup. And the low alcohol content is a plus during a hot, drink-filled day.
FOR THE START OF ROSE SEASON
Head to: Rebelle, the new French restaurant which just opened next to Pearl and Ash (and is run by the same team) has a similarly staggering wine selection.
Drink: Wine. We're coming up on rose season and Rebelle's got a small, but interesting section including everything from a vertical of Francois Cotat's Pinot Noir-based Sancerre rose to some funkier pink stuff from cult California producer Clos Saron. On a budget? Try the ridiculously popular $30 bottle of rose from Wolffer Estate, which balances ripe red fruit and tart acidity.
IF YOU LIKE YOUR DRINKS BLUE
Head to: Porchlight or Grand Army Bar
Drink: Anything blue. In case you missed it, blue drinks are having a moment, and you can sample a cerulean-hued cocktail at Danny Meyer's Porchlight. It's called, appropriately enough, the Gun Metal Blueand is made with mezcal, peach brandy, blue curaçao and cinnamon syrup. The drink balances sweet fruit flavor with sour, and a slightly smokey bite from the mezcal. If you want your blue drink to taste a little more tropical go to the brand new Grand Army Bar for a Surfliner—navy strength rum, allspice dram, blue curaçao, cane syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice and bitters.
FOR A THIRST-QUENCHING BEER
Head to: Lupulo, the Portuguese word for hops is Michelin-starred chef George Mendes' take on a traditional beer tavern.
Drink: The Moody Tongue Steeped Emperor's Lemon Saison. It's a great beer for the spring/summer season, with a bright lemon flavor and a light dose of bracing hops.