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The Best Thing Eater Editors Drank This Week

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Drinking at home is now an opportunity for a treat. Here’s some inspiration from the liquor cabinets of Eater editors and contributors.

Wine being poured into a glass Shutterstock

Just like everyone else, Eater staffers are no longer dining out to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in New York City. But liquor stores are still open, cocktail bars are doing delivery, and many restaurants and wine bars are selling off their bottles — making drinking special beverages at home more of a common thread than ever for New Yorkers. Need inspiration on what to try next? Here are the best things that Eater editors had this week.

March 23

A bottle of Empire Estate Riesling, held by a hand. Serena Dai/Eater

Empire Estate Riesling from Fausto

Fausto has been one of my favorite places to drink wine in the city since it opened in 2018, and because it’s within walking distance of my apartment, I headed there over the weekend to check out its (socially distanced) cellar sale. I’m a casual wine drinker and was a bit in over my head — plenty of people there were wine experts, and were buying out the best of the rare selections — but the list had plenty of buys for day drinking, too. My recommendation: If you see a bottle of Empire Estate’s Riesling, get it. The complex wine is fruity yet dry, buttery and full yet refreshing. And no, it is NOT syrupy sweet, as is Riesling’s reputation. Bonus: It’s local and typically under $20. The brand comes from the NoMad’s wine director Thomas Pastuszak and is made from grapes grown in the Finger Lakes region. — Serena Dai, editor

A hand holds up a silver 16 oz. can of beer against a white wall Luke Fortney/Eater

Finback sour ale with apricot

Covenhoven is my neighborhood spot for Tuesday night trivia, date night drinks, and, as of this week, craft beers in quarantine. Last weekend, the Crown Heights bar known for its staggering selection of canned beer cleared out its bar stools and rebranded as “To-Go-Venhoven,” with a hand-painted banner strung up in its window. The selection here is a bit narrower than usual, but that’s not saying much for a bar that typically boasts eight full-sized refrigerators of craft beer for sale. On my last trip in, I tried a tart apricot sour from Finback Brewery in Queens, one of my favorite beers of the year so far and one of the last available in the fridge. A worker in the store that day shared that the bar’s selection of sour beers were the first to go, “in classic Brooklyn fashion.” — Luke Fortney, reporter

Margaritas from Calaca

I live next to Calaca in Bed-Stuy, and we decided to do takeout Thursday. We impromptu added margaritas when we saw they were offering them to-go. Best Thursday night drink I’ve maybe ever had? I didn’t know I needed it but I did. It was strong and tart and refreshing and felt elicit, served in the tall paper coffee cups. Last night was their last night for a bit, so I bought a full $70 bottle of pre-matched mezcalitas. Should get me through for awhile. — Amanda Kludt, editor-in-chief

In the foreground, a plastic to-go container with a printed label “Mezcal Negroni” sits on a marble countertop. Behind it, bottles of wine are lined up for sale. Sonia Chopra/Eater

Cocktails from June Wine Bar

Time truly feels like a construct these days, but man did I really want a Negroni at the end of last week. We walked (safely) over to June Wine Bar in Cobble Hill, where we grabbed a half-off liter of a Calcarius wine — a new fave — and two $8 cocktails, a stirred gin drink and a mezcal Negroni. The cocktails each came in an eight-ounce to-go container, the kind prepared foods come in at delis, and although each already had a citrus-peel garnish inside, June threw a whole lemon in with our purchase as well. They were strong and delicious, and we hope to be back to support June again soon. — Sonia Chopra, Eater director of strategy

A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle in a window, next to a glass filled with a little bit of bourbon. Gary He/Eater

Pappy Van Winkle 15-year-old bourbon

I’ve been running around as Eater’s de facto man on the street, so I’ve gotten a lot of exposure (fingers crossed, so far so good). I keep a pretty strict self-quarantine when I’m not out there doing journalism to limit potentially exposing other people, so I drink from my stash left over from another lifetime doing drinks writing. Anthony Bourdain once called Pappy Van Winkle “the most glorious bourbon on the face of the planet.” There are some bottles that people save for a special occasion or the end of the world. What better time than now to crack open those unicorns? — Gary He, photojournalist

A bottle of red wine held up to the window by a guy in a bright blue fleece. Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Resonance Pinot Noir from Astor Wines and Spirits

In spite of the movie Sideways, I’m still drinking pinot noir when the mood calls for a saturated red, and I feel like a splurge. That was the case with this bottle of Resonance by Decouverte Vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It was inky in color and opacity, fruity in fragrance, and, at five years old, probably too tannic to be drunk so young. Still, with the virus looming outside my door like a rabid raccoon, I couldn’t help but shakily pull the cork, as the smell of the wine filled the room. I sipped it slowly, really glad that I’m not a wine writer. — Robert Sietsema, senior restuarant critic

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